Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lonestar State on the Fly

Before heading down on our bonzai-trip to East Texas, Chris and I took at day-trip to middle Missouri to refresh our warmwater fly skills. I had fished so much through the winter, I forgot what it was to have a non-trout on the rod...and what it took to get it there. This little BG was my favorite catch of the day; you can see the first shades of spawning colors starting to shade down. That, my friends, is very good news.

I robbed the weed line of this little bass, my first catch in TX! If you aren't familiar with Buffs, please do so. They are amazing, effective, sort of stylish (??), and make you look like anything from a pirate to a robber to a safari-man. I finished the 5wt 'glass rod in this photo a day before leaving for TX. I was able to find a Martin MG-7 to pair it up with, and boy oh boy do I like that old reel. It performed very nicely.

Chris is on the phone and his conversation went like this:

Chris: "Hey there, how's it goin?"

Dude: "Good--hey, how's the fishin?"

Chris: "Man, it's freakin' windy! Wind like you wouldn't believe!"

Dude: "Caught anything?"

Chris: "'s unbelieveably windy here."

It really was windy, but we managed (to not hook ourselves or each other). The wind was sustained 20-30mph with gusts into the 40s. That part hindered the fishing, but we tried to be patient, cast carefully (ok, we were just chucking, but we would have been casting if not for the ridiculous wind), and time things right.

Chris showing me how it's done. He turned me on to the Buff, by the way.

He was happy as a clam to be back in TX, back in warmwater, and about to be back into big 'gills.

Chris took delivery of his MHX 4wt 9 footer just minutes before we left STL. I'd been dragging this build on for...months. He was patient, and I think fairly happy with the build. His heart was set on fat bluegils, and the 4wt just wasnt' the right tool. His old Orvis 2wt sure was though!

I worked non-stop through the week prior to leaving on rods, trying to get them done. I decided on white wraps on the black 'glass blank for my 5wt 8footer. I'm still undecided about the aesthetics, but the wraps did their job either way and held the guides on. Can't complain about that!

"Yessir, I will take one of those!" The fishing was slow at times, very slow; we entertained ourselves in various ways. My cheekbones were as sore as they've ever been; thinking back on the trip we did laugh a lot...and painfully hard a few times. It's becoming a theme of trips with Chris that things rarely go as planned, the fishing can really stink at times, and we end up making the best of it and laughing a few weeks worth in the space of two or three days.

Chris fished his 2wt Orvis more than any other rod, and for good reason. That old Orvis does the job with style and grace! I give Chris a lot of grief for "going Orvis," but fishing his stuff these days has changed my opinion about the "O" brand. I still think there is a lot of gimmicking going on, but they do have some great rods that are top-performers. Go figure.

Chris laying out some line, stalking those 'gills!

We stayed in a house owned by some of Chris's TX friends (helps to know all the right people!), and it was absolute bliss to sleep in a bed, eat real food, and be around normal people on a fishing trip. Pretty amazing really.

I built the three on the left and Orvis did the one on the right.

All these rods saw action, fish and WIND. We realized how many rods we brought when we had to carry them back from the dock. We brought....enough. Rods were everywhere on the house porch, staged in various conditions of readiness. I don't think the locals quite knew what to make of us and our feathery concoctions, but they were totally accommodating.

Two fiberglass, three graphite, all fishy.

The second day we found the big stuff. The hungry, eager, powerful stuff. Oh yes, we found the 'gill honey hole! We immediately turned to squealing, giddy kids having far too much fun.

Coppernose Bluegills fight H-A-R-D!!

What a chunk!

I had read about and lusted after Coppernoses, but never had the chance to catch one until this trip. Seeing those frankenheaded coppery heads was a definite highlight. We just don't get too many 'gills like this up in MO.

Chris' goal was to catch a 10"+ bluegill. He did it, but blew right past the 10" mark and landed on the 12" mark. Typical for Chris.... He sure was happy though.

That's over 20" of Bluegill there, and the result of a really fun double. Did I mention "honey hole?"

Those Bluegills knew how to put some bend in my Lamiglass 3wt and make themselves look and feel super big. I don't think it gets too much better than huge 'gills on light 'glass. Yessir, I could have done this all day.

My first Warmouth, another great moment.

It's Bucketmouth time!

This guy put up a worthy fight, but the new 'glass eventually overcame and Chris netted her at the side of the boat.

We kept catching on-and-off through Sunday, but sadly then had to leave to make the next stop (Dallas) before driving back on Monday. We both agreed we'd be back...with big smiles on our faces as we nodded our heads. Oh yes, we are going back.


  1. What a great time that was! I hope to get my report up soon...

  2. Will
    This trip is worth writing a book about. You seldom go on a trip and land that kind of gills, especially one 12", which I would have considered mounting. I have got to say you guys have put the best post out for the month of April, anyone would hard pressed to beat this one. A fly fishing trip like you and Chris just made is what makes this sport so great---and people wonder why some of us fly fish????? Great Post!!!

  3. Bill, Thanks for being so generous with compliments. These sorts of trips really are rare considering the hectic schedules we all keep, all the responsibilities we have--most of the time we all have to just settle for what we can get when we can get it. This trip went above and beyond in terms of fish, fun, and general goodtimeness.

    Hope you're getting into some Spots down there and continuing to slay the gills!!

  4. Just reread this post...what a great time that was. Brings a smile to my face, not only just remembering this one but also knowing there'll be more to come!