As my quest continues to experience encounters with new species, I have had tons of opportunities to learn and to adapt to different situation. This has enabled me to realize the effectiveness of fly fishing and its lack thereof under certain conditions.
Wind = baaaaaaaaaaad day, big river = a lot of wind, adaptation = lay low, side cast, roll cast, wait for your turn to cast, Add weight and strip fast. With all the above said, it's something totally different to experience.
With spring comes the White Bass runs in the local rivers here. With White Bass come the Striped Bass to feed on them. Apparently White Bass is quite tasty as table fare and they're numbers in the past few years have been steadily rising, thanks to the strict size and bag limits.
The Striped Bass however is a real surprise, transplanted here in Texas decades ago was a strain of hardier eastern and western sub species. They seemed to have carved a niche for themselves in this particular river. They were initially introduced in the lakes, but they couldn't breed in lakes and had to be stocked. Some found themselves released into the rivers below during flooding and boy was that a stroke of luck or what? Now in some rivers, they are able to reproduce naturally and surprise surprise, in Trinity River they actually migrate to the salt water estuaries! Some tagged SB's were found to travel over 30 miles in a day!
So as you can see I was pretty stoked at the idea of being able to wet lines in an attempt to contact this behemoth (some are easily over 65 lbs). I've been researching the tackle requirement for this species and I was able to procure the necessary clearance from the MRS before I made a "reckless" purchase, her words and not mine! So with all background work in place, species specific flies purchased (yes, sadly I'm not at that level as of yet, LOL!), I was ready to hit the water.
Then the water hit me! Boy was it a rough day! It was windy, high water, stained water etc. etc. Although my tackle was able to handle the conditions, I definitely wasn't! This was all new to me. So no wade fishing that day, it was all bank fishing. A bunch of people lined up along the banks, literally shoulder to shoulder! No courtesies given or etiquette followed that day. It was each man for himself. Amidst all that, I was trying to squeeze in, trying to avoid people behind me, around me and next to me. It was hot and it was hell! So as you can see, it was a bad day all in all and I returned home skunked!
I almost gave up, and then I didn't. I hit the water again and with renewed determination. This time I wasn't going to fail. So much so that I promised my wife I wouldn't come home empty handed, this time I would bring the catch home. She was surprised and checked to see if I really was me! LOL! Blame catch and release.
Luckily for me, this time around the flow was low, but the wind was baaaad. I was happy that I could wade. I made it to the end of the legal boundary to the dam and then damn! A bunch of anglers lined up with their surf rods! BLOODY SURF RODS! and I was here waiving around a 7WT butter stick. Well, you do what you can with what you have. Folks over there might be thinking I was a crazy Indian guy!
For the first couple of hours I was struggling, couldn't throw past 10' due to the head wind while facing the dam, so essentially I was useless. I turned around face the opposite direction and started to cast. I read the water and searched for possible holding spot. The first cast and CONNECT! whatever this thing was it was searching for the depth, the line started to peel and the reel started to sing! After a full 5 minutes of fight, this thing started to jump out of the water to reveal itself. There it was to my surprise, an Alligator Gar
After that there was no holding back, I connected with three more gars all of the similar size. But the first one fought the best. It was crazy how all three of them fought so differently, the last one just hung around the depth pulling the line for over 10 minutes. Amazing fish to connect at the end of the line! So after the third I moved on to some fast water to catch some SB. But ended up with this guy, a WB. I think I caught over 40 of these small ones, 10" and above are allowed.
I kept at it for a few more hours and ended up with this. 3 WB, 1 White Crappie, and 1 Freshwater Drum (Gaspergou), which was a total surprise and is very rare from what I am told.
So as you can see, my quest continues to experience a stripper to dance on my pole. LOL! Striper has one "p" by the way.
Until next time.... Tight lines and cheers....