Hitting the Hill Country

Non-Trout pursuits

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Jimbo Roberts
Posts: 1160
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2002 8:26 am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Hitting the Hill Country

Post by Jimbo Roberts » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:30 pm

The boards have been pretty quiet since the tailwater has started to warm. I have been fishing in the Hill Country for the last 3 weeks and this is what I have been doing.

It started with a visit to see Chris and Matt at Living Waters. They has a seminar talking about Broken Bow, Southern Colorado, and Brushy Creek. I was intersted in what secrets they would dole out about Colorado as I will be heading north July 6th. It was a great slide show and picked up a few names. After it was over I fished Brushy Creek west of IH 35 for the first time. When I lived in Austin I fished east of IH 35, but never got around to fishing west of 35.

I started about 5:30 and was still driving back to San Antonio, so I had just a few hours. They also had significant rains and the creek was just starting to clear. No problem. I jumped in the truck and headed up Hairy Man Road. I started at the second bridge over the creek. I pulled out my Sage 476XP. I should have changed the leader right off, but as late as it was I was in a hurry. As I started to fish I realized the 6X trout leader was not turning over my Boogle poppers, go figure. I trimed it back but I was undergunned.
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It worked but the bursitis in my right shoulder was acting up. After fishing there awhile, I realized this easy access meant many anglers used this access and maybe that's why the fishing was not spectacular.

So I drove back downstream and picked a spot almost down to the first bridge. I picked this spot because it looked like not many people would start here. I also switched to a TFO Finesse 7'9" 5wt. because the 5wt line already had a short 3X leader on the reel... Good Choice ! This was going to be close and personal fishing.....
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I can see where this creek gets it's name.
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As with most of the Hill Country streams each drainage has Longears with their own unique coloring.....
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These have a lot of red and turquoise in them with almost no yellow.

Redbreast of course......
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And some nice sized Largemouths.....
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It was a nice couple of hours and showed the potential Chris and Matt have been talking about. I would like to explore more here and again when the river is more stable. I'll be back again. It was late as I walked back to the truck and a familiar sight came out about dusk..... Click the pic for a short video.....
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A week later and it was time for a trip to the middle Guadalupe. Ron McAlpin introduced me to this spot many years ago and it is a fine one. The past 3 years of drought has taken it's toll on the fish here, but it's one of those places you'd go even if you knew the fishing would be poor. Well it wasn't poor..... but.....
For the few that have had the honor of being allowed to fish this private water you will recognize the bridges over the Guadalupe here. They actually replaced the old low water crossing with a new high bridge last year that you can see in the background behind the old railroad tressel.
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Again this is a private ranch and you need permission from the owners and sign a release of liability to access the property.

The Guadalupe Bass are thick here but the first one was going to be a bit of a sign.
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I've caught many Guadalupes 16-18" here over the years, but like last year the ones I caught seemed to be getting smaller. It's understandable being the river has been very low for 3 summers now. Less water means less habitat and fewer and smaller fish that can be accomodated here. Of course fewer is realitive term here. This place it's usually easy to catch 40-50 and a 100 in a day is not out of the question. If you count the Perch I almost hit a 100.

Middle Guadalupe Longear.....
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You'll notice the different coloration of the Longears here compared to the ones in Brushy Creek. Go to another river in the Hill country and they will be slightly different again. The result of years of isolation from other populations and the wandering path of genetics.


Redbreast.....
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I figured maybe all the smaller fish I was catching was a result of my tendency to throw only topwater, so I tried A Cat's Whisker. First fish on pulled hard.....
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Go figure, but not to be unexpected in the summer.....

A nicer Longear.....
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Another Guadalupe but about the same size......
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And like I said this place has lots to offer other than the fishing.....
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The Cypress trees that line the banks form tunnels of shade that make fishing here in the summer very comfortable.
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Look on the right and you will see driftwood stacked up behind the Cypress easily 10 feet over your head. This is why this area is called the most flood prone spot in North America. The hills funnel the often very heavy rains into the drainages. The flows can jump from 50cfs to 10,000cfs or more in no time. Anything close to the river is washed away, except the Bald Cypress. And every flood will take some of them out just not all of them. You don't see any homes built at river level here. Even way back when it meant hauling water a long way to the house you didn't dare build next to the river, it would never last.

Back to fishing and since the subsurface fishing was about the same, I went back to fishing on top.
Another Guadalupe Bass that call this river home. The world record is only a little move 4lbs.
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I only caught Guadalupe's here today, no Largemouths, which is good news for the restoration program.
More evidence of previous floods.....
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Check out the log wedged in the Y of the trunk about 20' in the air.

Off to the west evidence. A thunderstorm on the upper Guadalupe.....
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And no time to waste.....
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One of the last Cypress tunnels I would fish today.....
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And more willing participants.....
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Time to head back upstream. I didn't want to miss to much of the Spurs and the Heat game this evening.
As I was walking back along the river's edge I spooked several deer coming down to the water. I walked past one and the doe did not sense me till I was well past her. She snorted at me as they often do to test my nerve, and then her fawn confused and scared, came bursting out of the trees along the river. It didn't know what her mother was scared of, but she was running just the same. She didn't know I was standing past both of them and I guess she figured the threat was in the other direction. She ended up running right at me and didn't notice me standing there until she stopped just a couple of feet short. I stood frozen and she didn't understand what I was for a moment. She looked at me for maybe 6 or 7 seconds. I tried to get my camera out slowly, but she knew something was wrong and then strolled off about 20 feet.
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Not much a picture, but what an experience!
The sun's glory at the end of another good day.....
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Now yesterday I went again. This time I would explore some new crossings on the middle Guadalupe.
The first one was on Hermann Sons Road. I drove down and there was a woman with her kids swimming in the deep whole by the old washed out bridge.
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Another concrete bridge that could not stand against one of the many floods that come down this stretch.
Again the fishing was still a good numbers game here.....
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The water here had some deeper pockets and that is what I'm looking for! Deeper pockets mean bigger fish usually.
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Sure enough some bigger RedBreast.....
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I caught many Bass and Perch here. Fishing downstream here I ran into some water too deep to wade, so establishing that there was good fishing here and still before 2pm time to move on to another crossing.

Next I drove down Lame Valley Road. It's crossing had shallow water for 100's of yards upstream and down. So on to the next crossing on the Guad. This one was Homilius Road. Here the water was generally shallow, but with ruts everywhere and deep pockets here and there, I would give this one a try.
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One thing about these fish in shallow water they are spooky. You can not just go thrashing your way upstream and expect to catch anything. Here it is very similar to fishing high in the mountains for Trout. These fish are not stupid, they are very aware of predators on the banks, but if you wade carefully you can catch them.
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Numbers were good as long as you didn't splash about. Do that and you could see many fish bolting upstream.

And as Ron has said many times before our Texas Brook Trout......
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Micropterus Treculii

More Cypress Tunnels and here the river split going around some stranded Cypress as the restless river moved it's channel during past floods.
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And Redbreast waiting to ambush my offerings.....
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Above the island the valley opened up and the river became broad and shallow for awhile.
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In this shallow and slow water the fish were even spookier if you can believe that. Almost Armstrong Creek spooky.
Anything landing on the surface scattered the fish milling around underneath. My hopper was of no use under the bright sun. Back on goes the Cat's Whisker. Cast it to the side and past the fish cruising here. Let it sit on the bottom and then hop it along back. The fish would sense this and go over to investigate. Some thought it was a afternoon snack.....
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After catching a few in the area the others found there understood the game. It was time to move on to another spot and another pod.

I found a pod of Perch in a deeper hole and decided to put on a Dave's rubber legs and catch them all.....
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Yeap caught another one, you just never know.
Fishing was again a a high numbers day, no real big ones, but plenty of fun on light tackle. Looking back at the long pool/flat I had fished through.
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The Spurs were playing game 6 tonight and time to turn around and head back home.
Of course I like to hit some of the better spots on the way back.....
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It paid off.....
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This of course that made my return to the house a bit late and I listened to the beginning of another exciting game on the radio. I wish the Spurs had held on for the victory, but then we would have been denied a game 7 to look forward to on Thursday. It been awhile since 2 such evenly matched basketball teams went at it with neither holding an edge to the following game.

GO SPURS GO !!!!!!!

Jimbo
Last edited by Jimbo Roberts on Thu Jun 20, 2013 12:18 pm, edited 31 times in total.

preast
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2002 5:03 pm
Location: Austin

Re: Hitting the Hill Country

Post by preast » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:50 pm

Dang! I wish I'd known they were doing that seminar--sounds like a good one. Brushy Creek is a nice little creek. I should fish it more often since I'm just up the road from it. Glad you got a chance to try it out.

Alex Argyros
Posts: 369
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:52 pm
Location: Austin

Re: Hitting the Hill Country

Post by Alex Argyros » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:11 pm

Great photos, Jimbo.

I used to fish Brushy quite frequently. Best fishing was far away from the obvious access points (of course, the entire river is a short walk from the road).

And, I was privileged to fish the first stretch in your essay, the private water. I've been there with you and Ron, and it is, indeed a magical place. When a bunch of fishermen can catch 100 fish each fishing next to each other, that's quality water.

cresswellcharles
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Hitting the Hill Country

Post by cresswellcharles » Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:37 am

Jimbo,

Thanks for reminding us of how fortunate we are to have essentially unspoilt waters to enjoy. I really enjoyed your thoughts and photographs.
Cress

Jimbo Roberts
Posts: 1160
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2002 8:26 am
Location: San Antonio, TX

Re: Hitting the Hill Country

Post by Jimbo Roberts » Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:21 pm

Thanks all.....
I don't know why none of the bigger Guadalupes didn't come out to play. I know some are still there, maybe it was just the hot weather that had them in the bottom of the deepest holes. Anyway here is one caught at the second spot a while back.....
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This one is pushing 3lbs and I caught one a couple of years ago that was about 3 1/2lbs just downstream.

Jimbo

stiles
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 10:17 am
Location: Austin

Re: Hitting the Hill Country

Post by stiles » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:06 am

Great report, Jimbo!



~~~ ><Ǽ>

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