This was from my blog post at trailinghookjournal.com. Thought i'd share it over here too.
I keep hearing the same thing over and over..."good riddance 2016". Well, to be honest, i'm kinda with those folks on that one. It has been one of the toughest for me. Yet, at another glance, it was one of great adventures, lots of fishing, hunting, and time spent with family and friends. Sometimes the bad outweighed the good, and at other times, the reverse, just sometimes a little far and in between. But my last adventure of the year brought us to the South Concho River. Since the weather was unusually warm for late December (60's), my buddy Kyle and I decided to try and get out one last time before the New Year. It was up in the air until the last minute, but we made the decision the night before...and with an added bonus. His son Austin was in town and wanted to go. Sounded good to me. Last time I saw Austin, we were all having the time of our lives on the lower Pecos River back in August.
Austin had to get on his six hour drive home pretty soon to get to work, so we knew it would need to be a place that we could fish for a while then get back to the trucks to see him off, then continue the fishing trip. But Kyle and I also wanted to scope out some new areas we haven't really fished before. We picked the perfect spot, although a little difficult to get to. It was __ miles past ___ __ _____.. then turn left on ____ _ ___ __ __, after you pass the ___ ______ __ ___ go ___ miles, then a slight____. When you see the _____, you're there. Oh sorry, I forgot I installed the new Fishspot Deleter Pro. So, in the event I try and give out my fishing spots, it auto-corrects for me.
We got loaded up and finally got to where we needed to go. This trip would also be a little new for me. I was taking out my new ride. The maiden voyage. I've been an Ocean Kayak guy since 2007. We have three. I ride for the brand, but when the opportunity arose to get a brand new yak for half price...I jumped on it. The new addition to the fleet is a Wilderness Systems Ride 135. (Thanks Seth, you da man)
The drop in is at a spot where we can go up or down river. With time being an issue for Austin, we headed up river to a big pool where we have fished many a day, and always had great results. Kyle and Austin would be in the canoe, as I would be testing out my new ride.
To get to this pool meant we had to drag our boats a couple hundred yards from the drop in before we got to deep water. It's always tough going, even in the summer, but add in the water temps, and the lack of waders for the other duo, it made for some rude awakenings once we started off. The air temp might of been cozy, but that water was a different story, or so I heard when we set off.
I was nice and warm in my Kokatat waders, but I pretended I could feel their pain. lol
Once we hit open water and in the boats, the sun started doing it's job and we immediately started shedding layers. What an odd December day, but no one was complaining.
Once we hit the big pool, my third cast connected with the first bass of the day. A little small and nothing to sing loudly about, but main thing...I slimed my new boat before any skunk could stick on.
Kyle and Austin were fishing the opposite side, and within a few minutes, I heard the holler of a fish on. Sweet. So while Kyle grinned for the camera, Austin dealt with the consequences of a bad cast at the same time.
We've all been there, just part of it.
The bass became more elusive, and after a couple of hours of hammering everything we could, it was time for Austin to get on the road.
We got back to the truck and as we ate our sammiches at the drop in, we started discussing our next step. The water downstream is narrow and swift in most spots, with a few large pools in between. It was going to be tough going on many parts, so we decided to not take my new yak, and both jump in the canoe. We could fish more, and the portages and rapids would be much easier than having to do it solo. So we said our goodbyes and tossed my yak in the back of Austin's truck and he took it to the house before leaving town. Now it was adventure time.
We've fished the first few miles many times, but we wanted to go further. The ol' "let's just see what's around that next corner" seems to be an irresistible force. Will it be fishable? Could we camp? How hard will it be? Is it worth it? One thing is for sure, however far we go...we have to go back up.
The first mile or so is pretty easy. Big water and easy paddling. I caught two more bass in this stretch, both were skinny but still had a lot of fight in them. Here's the bigger of the two.
Then the tough part begins. We portage around a big dam and the water goes back and forth from wide to skinny every fifty yards or so.