Well, when last we met I was travelling to Texas. In my current job, ten days off in a row only happens once a year. In my company, those of us who teach cannot take vacation while students are present. Students are present all the freaking time. Once in a blue moon, I get lucky. Christmas is the only time I can get time off without a huge hassle or a REALLY good reason. I wasn’t sticking around here when I could be with her.
So I hopped a bird ship and flew back to Austin. The game plan was rather convoluted… We were to spend two days in Hondo, leave Christmas Eve for Houston, stay in Houston for three or so days, then back to Austin for a small kitchen update.
It was accomplished using AirStone, a neat little material that is essentially an artificial stone veneer. Super lightweight, it was cut with a hacksaw, and stuck to the wall with putty. It looks pretty very close to real, but a fraction of the cost. Why am I telling you this? Easy, brownie points. Earn some quick with this guys, real quick. Just buy a good hacksaw and you’re set.
Halfway in between, we decided to go fishing. Okay, I decided and she was on board. I already called the guy that was going to guide us, shop owner Chris Johnson. Chris runs Living Waters Fly Fishing in Round Rock, Texas. I also know him to be an excellent instructor of new anglers. It should be said that if Chris was busy, I would have called Judson Cole. If Judson was busy, I would have just waded. These are the two best guides in Central Texas, my personal favorites. Chris I know to be great with beginners and he has been a huge supporter of both OneBugIsFake and FlyStock.
We started this rat killin’ at another local fly shop, Action Angler. I flew in without waders, boots, or anything else. This unfortunate oversight meant that I had to rent and Courtney needed accouterments as well. It was a bit embarrassing to rent waders like a newbie, but I was certain that no one would notice. Along with the rental fees, I decided to buy some streamers. Chris and I have been at odds on streamer fishing for a while. While ringing everything up, the kid manning the shop looked dead at me and asks if I’m OneBugIsFake. Damn. What are the odds that the ONE TIME I was recognized for my blog was the one time I was really hoping nobody saw me. However, I must say this… Having someone genuinely recognize me was a feather in my cap all day. I was so happy about that I could have ALMOST gone without catching anything.
We made it to L&L for the launch. While we were getting ready, I whipped out my Christmas present from my lovely girlfriend and started annoying her with my brand new camera. (It was a cloudy day and a new camera, my settings
weren’t aren’t quite figured out. My compensating “gimp-fu” isn’t that great either.)
Before we got in the boat, Chris went over some casting basics with her. She took direction superbly and I honestly couldn’t have been more proud of her. I snapped some more pictures before deciding to put down the camera and pick up a rod. We were on the water and I could always use a little casting and drifting practice. Especially the drifting part, I hate nymph fishing so I rarely do it. Fishing with Chris’ selection for the morning, I made a couple of decent casts, a few slow water drifts, and then I was able to practice my trout-set. That’s right, at the launch.
I love fishing for trout just over an hour away from the Alamo. The limestone landscape of the Texas Hill Country compliments trout fishing nicely. So, after a fruitless battle to hook my first Palamino, I was content to idly fish and enjoy the trip while Chris concentrated on Courtney catching her fish. It didn’t take long either.
Chris is a purist. Usually, this can be a negative. In this case however, that is part of his charm. You get the distinct feeling he could catch a Peacock Bass on the Kenai. We were catching fish on what should have been a slow day and I was impressed with how Courtney was performing under his tutelage. The hours were flying by as we landed fish after fish. Great stories were being told and Courtney was learning more about me than I think maybe she wanted to. Suddenly, as sudden as this segue, Courtney’s line went tight. Chris and I both looked at the rod and knew she had on a beast.
She held her cool and did everything Chris told her to with serenity, despite the fact that the pitch in everyone’s voices had gone up an octave with excitement. Bless her heart, she didn’t know what she had on. The entire ordeal left my breathing very short as I waited helpless from the back of the boat. I started snapping pictures, in case the fish proved too much to handle.
Friends and followers of this piece of web-estate will know that I have craved catching a fish with a particular feature since the inception of this blog. I have coveted the kype for a long time now. For those of you who don’t know, the kype is that huge “super-predator” mouth that salmonids of diversified stock portfolios develop. Actually I don’t know why it happens, but it looks extraordinary. I have been blessed enough to hold some super fish, but that kype has always eluded me. That said, I was SUPREMELY impressed with how she handled everything while managing to wrangle that fish in. My heart swelled with pride and I was not the slightest bit jealous. That’s my woman out there out fishing me!
We stopped for lunch, and then proceeded with the fishing. My girlfriend had me bested in both quantity and quality; I was loving every minute of it. The better the trip went for her, the more likely it was to happen again. So when I was offered her spot on the front of the boat, I declined. I was tired of dragging nymphs and was itching for a streamer take. I said as much to Chris. We came up to a shallow section of river and got out when Chris spotted a fish. We quietly worked our way upstream as Chris tied on a streamer. My WalMart specials were no match for his Costas. I literally had to dial in the attack from the called coordinates. Cast, strip, swing, strip, repeat. Then, on the third or so attempt…
You know something? Even though it was “Texas Chilly” out and Courtney had never been fly-fishing before; she took that 8 hour float like a champ. I am very much in love, and SUPER proud of her! We caught fish all day long, and I managed to catch another decent fish on a dry fly for a Guadalupe Grand Slam. 1 Nymph, 1 Streamer, and 1 Dry… in 1 day. Thanks again to Chris Johnson for the trip!
Stay tuned, I’ve got more to catch you guys up on!
Chris Johnson guides Brushy Creek, the San Gabriel, the Llano, and the Lower Mountain Fork River in Oklahoma, along with the Guadalupe River. Call 512.828.3474 to ask about private Trophy Bass water too!
Judson Cole guides the Blanco, both Upper and Lower Guadalupe Rivers, Lady Bird Lake, as well as access on the Llano, South Llano, Frio, and Pedernales Rivers.