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Jan 23rd, 2013
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New Years Trip #13394010 01/06/20 12:45 AM
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Brine Offline OP
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Got back from my "5" day trip to Emma last week that was really only 3 days of fishing with a grand total of only 35 hours of lines in the water. In my newly formed state of carpnotic delirium I had envisioned picking up the rental RV, driving to the park, casting out, and having rods out until the minute we left to return the RV. hammer I go through the effort of explaining all of this in case another RV newbie finds themselves reading this post and planning a similar trip. The reality is, Day 1 and Day 5 are all about picking up, packing, traveling , unpacking, cleaning, and returning the RV. The rental process definitely cuts into the overall fishing time vs taking your own vehicle, but the luxury of the RV's amenities, my age, and having my wife and 2 teenage boys with me, made it a better option than renting a large SUV and purchasing a bunch of camping gear with the chance of cold, wet weather. I certainly could have added more fishing time by fishing through the nights, but I would have been doing it alone, and that wasn’t the purpose of this trip. In fact, the goal was to fish 3 rods and have us all take turns reeling in fish. A bit of luck of the draw, but we were all just grateful to have a turn.

Day 1: We got a later than expected start (leaving Houston) because I thought I could pickup the RV as early as 11am. What I didn't realize (until 2 days prior) was that I had to make an appointment to do so. By the time I found out, I was told the earliest time available was 2pm. mad The check-out process was 30-45 minutes, then a drive back home to pack up the RV, fuel up, and another 1hr later, we were finally on the road around 4pm with an expected 2.5hr drive to Emma. About an hour outside of Austin, we were greeted with heavy rain and strong winds which tacked on another 20 mins (but who's counting the extra minutes by now anyway....) This being my first trip to the park, I went on a short sightseeing trip (of blackness) inside the park, but we eventually found our way to the RV sites only to find that our spot (strategically picked for several reasons) is blocked off with cones with apparent damage to the water/electrical hookup. Mind you, it's pitch dark, pouring rain, wind blowing 15-20, there is no one at the gate and there is no campsite host. Not knowing what to do, I called TPWD and surprisingly got someone on the phone via Austin 311, explained the situation, and after being on hold for 5 minutes (twice), was told "We have hired an electrician to come out and fix the problem. They will be there soon and will call you when they arrive". I got off the phone and looked at my wife and said, "There is no way they are sending someone out to fix this now, here, in this weather, on a Saturday night." Fortunately, there was a vacant site across the street from mine, so I got parked and hooked up and found out we had power, but no water. Rather than use the RV restroom, I walked to the campsite bathrooms nearby only to find them locked with a sign that said “Restrooms Closed Due To Weather” and thought to myself “How does rain affect plumbing???” That said, I still ended up experiencing some primitive camping experiences of my youth, and soon found myself crawling into the bed for some needed rest. A semi-rough first day with no lines in the water, but I was thankful we were safe, on location, and all going to be sleeping in the RV and not a car that night. I decided not to set any wake-up alarms and to simply get up when my body told me to.

Day 2: I woke up around 6:30am and decided to go for a walk and get the lay of the land as well as take a closer look at the damage to the site I had reserved. As I stepped out of the RV, I noticed that a park employee was up at the restroom area in his truck, so I walked up to see if he had any insight on what was going on with my site and the water situation. He explained that the day before we arrived, someone had backed over the water/electrical hookups which not only made my site unusable, it caused the water tanks that supply the park to run dry for everyone and that is also why the bathrooms were closed. He explained that it being Sunday, it probably wouldn't be fixed until the energy company could come out on Monday (Day 3).

[Linked Image]

Sunday temps had dropped around 7* from Saturday and the forcast was showing 66*/46*. Although everything was wet, the rain had stopped sometime in the middle of the night, but the high winds from the night before persisted with a steady 15mph gusting 25.

[Linked Image]

Good for drying everything out, but not so good for using an inflatable raft with undersized paddles to start chumming the swim. I knew we would have little success maneuvering my $20 investment in the high winds.

[Linked Image]

That said, pre-baiting like this is new for me too. I’m used to showing up to a location and casting out, so that’s what I did. After unpacking all the gear and getting set up, first lines of the trip hit the water around 8am on Sunday. This was my first time using any gear dedicated to carp fishing, and I was happy to find that these rods can certainly zing out a loaded up method feeder, and I enjoyed getting to set them all on the pod.

[Linked Image]

I decided without the chum to re-bait every 30-45 minutes initially and at 12:30 this beauty (my wife) landed this beauty

[Linked Image]

a 21# common and smashed her PB by 10 pounds. I was so happy for her, as she was (in case you couldn't tell by the smile on her face). Not long after landing this fish, the wind had died down enough to where I thought we (we meaning – my teenage son) could paddle out and begin putting out chum. It still required walking a good ways upwind on the bank with the raft just go get out to the proper depth and letting the wind do most of the driving once there. I had thought about this prior to the trip and decided to bring a couple marker buoys with me specifically for this purpose. Having previously looked at a topo map of the area and knowing that I would need to be casting long distances, I wanted to have my son get out on the water and see how far I was able to cast. This is what set the marker buoys' distances from the bank (approximately 80 yards). I then lined up a few objects on the far bank that would set the distance between the buoys which ended up being approximately 60 yards apart. If you look close, you'll see the first buoy placed to the right of the raft as he is drifting left at about 3 mph.

[Linked Image]

We didn’t have another run that day, and as the sun went down, the wind finally decided to stop blowing, and I decided to pack up for the night and let the chum do it’s work for the next morning.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Day 3: Air temps are still dropping. Forecast is 62*/39*. By the time I get up and get all the gear set again, it’s close to 7:30am. Lines go out and within 5 minutes, a PB (and my first) 32# grass carp hits the mat for me.

[Linked Image]

A few minutes later the alarms sound again and another PB (and first for my son) 22# grasser hits the mat for my oldest. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to not get a picture of the fish crying , but it made me realize the chum must now be doing its job. I decided to wake up my chum-Captain and send him on another voyage out.

[Linked Image]

Around 8:30am with chum being deployed, the bite alarm sounds off and this PB 17# beauty hit the mat.

[Linked Image]

Things got quiet for a couple hours so we made use of Grandma’s Christmas gift hammock, and I now realize I should have gotten my oldest son new socks for Christmas.

[Linked Image]

Shortly after this picture, workers showed up and repaired the site allowing us to finally get the RV setup next to the gear. banana Since I had to move the RV, I figured now would be the time to empty the tanks and “teach” my oldest son how to do so. Not to mention, I had really hoped to get some sort of Uncle Eddie picture from Christmas Vacation. This was as close as I could manage.

[Linked Image]

After getting back to the campsite, an hour or so later, another PB Grasser hit the mat. This time for my youngest and pulled the scale down to 23#.

[Linked Image]

Another couple hours go bye (as well as this giant swan),

[Linked Image]

and another golden beauty and PB 22# is landed by my wife.

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30 minutes later and another PB 23# for my oldest

[Linked Image]

All this reeling in fish stuff is becoming taxing...

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More chum goes out late afternoon, and the swan is now helping...

[Linked Image]

The last fish of the day (an approximate 15-17# grasser) gets reeled in around dusk by me, and I opted to not slime myself for a picture over making the hamburgers .

Day 4: New Years Eve - Air temp holding steady getting slightly cooler 62*/37* early AM. Campfire coffee to warm up.

[Linked Image]

A slight fog on the water.

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Chum going in before 8am! This time by my older son.

[Linked Image]

Between 7-9am, we lose 3 fish in row! eek 2 break offs and 1 hook pull. After closer inspection, I realize that my 50# braid is taking a beating (presumably from the zebra mussels???). I decide to reel in all my gear, strip off 20 yards of line, and retie. Within 5 minutes of doing so and casting back out, the first fish of the day hits the mat around 9am. Another PB 24# Common

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Not too many campers today.

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As normal, another lull in the action after the morning bite until about 1pm when this PB 17# grasser hits the mat

[Linked Image]

A couple hours later, another run and when I saw this fish pulling my 6’2” 220 son around, I knew it was going to be something big.

[Linked Image]

I also noticed the fish was behaving differently and said “You either have a big catfish or a buffalo!”. As happy as I would have been to see either, I really wanted one of us to land a buffalo. After seeing pictures of people catching these fish here (and having never caught one) this was the bonus fish I really wanted one of us to catch regardless of the size, and that wish came true with this 42# stunner.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

What an awesome fish to see in person. Pictures just don’t do this fish justice. They are simply massive in girth. 30 minutes later, we had another run with what seemed to be another buffalo that came unbuttoned. After reeling in, I notice the hook had bent out mad

[Linked Image]

Continued.....

Last edited by Brine; 01/06/20 09:20 PM.
Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13394082 01/06/20 01:38 AM
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Brine Offline OP
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No more runs that day until the sun had gone down, and another 24# PB grasser hit the mat for my youngest.

[Linked Image]

DAY 5: New Years Day . Weather temps stabilize at 58*/50* with lots of cloud cover.

[Linked Image]

Like clockwork, first fish bites minutes after hitting the water, and this time it’s another new species. The weirdest looking catfish I’ve ever seen. I’m guessing a sickly channel catfish???

[Linked Image]

We didn’t weight it, but I’d put it at 2.5-3lbs. 30 minutes later, another 26# grasser

[Linked Image]

and 30 minutes after that the biggest common of the trip, a 30# stud

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Shortly after, another 20# grasser and then our typical 9-9:30 cutoff when the fish stop biting.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Sidenote, if you ever get your pack bait too wet and don’t have any thing else to add to soak up the excess water, a cast iron skillet will get the job done.

[Linked Image]

The next bite didn’t happen until 4:30 this day, and it was the shortest/fattest grasser of the trip. Almost comical.

[Linked Image]

He weighed in at 22# and was full of chum as seen on the landing mat....

[Linked Image]

I wish I would have gotten measurements on him.

[Linked Image]

Minutes later, another run, and when I saw this one pulling, I know it would be the biggest fish we had caught if it was landed

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Shortly into the fight, I knew this was going to be a one of those magical buffs I had seen in pics, read about, and been told about. As it turned out, it was just that. A 51# giant.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

After landing the first buff and seeing the pictures, I had thought to myself “It looks so small in the picture compared to in person”, so I told myself if we caught another, we’d pull some measurements. Even doing so, these pictures just don’t do the size of the fish justice. I even asked my younger son to hold the fish to see if it looked bigger in his hands. Afterall, if it weren't for the netman.....

[Linked Image]

I then took the only video of this trip with the release.



That was 5pm, and we never got another bite before pulling out at 6:30 for the drive back to Houston.

All and all, the trip turned out to be an awesome family fishing trip and a great way and to ring in the New Year. I owe a lot of our success to the content I’ve read here, as well as the contributions many of you have made answering my questions leading up to this trip. Thanks to all, and here’s to your 2020 being the best year ever! Blessings To You All, Brine

Last edited by Brine; 01/07/20 05:30 PM.
Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13394111 01/06/20 02:08 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
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Curt0407 Online Content
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Emma was good to you. That is where both my PB carp and buffalo came from on the same trip. Appreciate the write up and the pics.


PB-carp, 23.9
PB-buffalo, 38.76
PB-bass, 11.10
PB-crappie, 2.80
Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13394179 01/06/20 03:29 AM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 1,106
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TXMulti-Species Online Happy
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Wow, what a crazy session! All those obstacles getting set up but you guys caught some monster fish for sure, 30lb Carp are super rare there as are 50+ buffs! Congratulations guys! thumb thumb Gonna be hard to beat an awesome trip like that

Awesome write up and read! One of my favorite parts: "I decided not to set any wake-up alarms and to simply get up when my body told me to.

Day 2: I woke up around 6:30am..."

Lol without alarms I wake up at the crack of noon roflmao


Catch and release. The dream - to catch one of every species of Freshwater fish in our great state! If only I can resist Carp...
https://txmultispecies.imgur.com/
[Linked Image]
Re: New Years Trip [Re: TXMulti-Species] #13394375 01/06/20 02:03 PM
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Brine Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Curt0407
Emma was good to you. That is where both my PB carp and buffalo came from on the same trip. Appreciate the write up and the pics.

Thanks Curt - It is a magical place. Thanks for reading.

Originally Posted by TXMulti-Species
Wow, what a crazy session! All those obstacles getting set up but you guys caught some monster fish for sure, 30lb Carp are super rare there as are 50+ buffs! Congratulations guys! thumb thumb Gonna be hard to beat an awesome trip like that

We certainly feel lucky to have had such an amazing trip and grateful for the opportunity. BTW, I had a typo on the weight of the Buff (He was 51#, not 55#) hammer I've changed it in the original post before the internet scale police show up grin

Originally Posted by TXMulti-Species
Awesome write up and read! One of my favorite parts: "I decided not to set any wake-up alarms and to simply get up when my body told me to.

Day 2: I woke up around 6:30am..."

Lol without alarms I wake up at the crack of noon roflmao


Ha - Yeah, I've always been an early riser (or probably more accuarate, an early sleeper), and I've never been able to sleep longer than 7 hours unless I'm sick.

Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13394652 01/06/20 05:32 PM
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pop r Online Content
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Good times! coolphotos thumb

Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13394694 01/06/20 06:02 PM
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Very nice!


Don't worry about the mule, just load the cart
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Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13394811 01/06/20 07:52 PM
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JJ4MEL Online Content
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Great write up and pics. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us!!

Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13395632 01/07/20 04:37 PM
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Gitter Done Online Content
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Super post and coolphotos. Thanks for sharing your vacation. cheers

Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13395770 01/07/20 06:29 PM
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Brine Offline OP
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pop r, Dfitz, JJ4MEL, Gitter Done - Thank you!

Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13396564 01/08/20 10:49 AM
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banker-always fishing Offline
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As I always say! "It just don't get any better! cheers That was one "OUTSTANDING Vacation!. GREAT post. thumb




IGFA World Record Rio Grande Cichlid. Lake Dunlap.

John 3:16

Re: New Years Trip [Re: banker-always fishing] #13396763 01/08/20 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by banker-always fishing
As I always say! "It just don't get any better! cheers That was one "OUTSTANDING Vacation!. GREAT post. thumb


Thanks b-af!

Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13410339 01/20/20 02:56 PM
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Laker One Online Content
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Trip of a Lifetime! Great post and some super fish. Thanks for sharing. woot

Re: New Years Trip [Re: Laker One] #13413128 01/22/20 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Laker One
Trip of a Lifetime! Great post and some super fish. Thanks for sharing. woot

Thanks L1!

Re: New Years Trip [Re: Brine] #13413521 01/23/20 03:04 AM
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What a great trip. Great fish and great family memories. Thanks for sharing. clap

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