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 Post subject: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:51 pm 
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For my birthday, my best friend Mattias drove up from Austin to spend the day fishing, cooking gumbo, drinking beer and watching UFC 101 Saturday. We met up with indy ag and his wife at the crossing on the Navasota River around 7 Saturday morning and put in. The goal was to take home a couple of eater catfish and, hopefully, land a big alligator gar. This time I came prepared with a steel cable noose loosely patterned after the one Strider uses with great success.

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You can see the near-vertical slope in the background. Easy putting in. Taking out? Not so much.

It was a perfect day on the river. No rain and a nice breeze that would come along just as the heat was starting to border on intolerable. We were the only human critters on the water, but there were plenty of other critters to be seen, including a hawk that was none too pleased to see us and was very vocal in voicing her displeasure.

This water snake didn't seem to mind us:

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Although, this crane (a little help with exact species identity, please!)

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did not enjoy our presence as much.

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Heading upstream, Matt and I passed under the fallen willow tree and set up shop bottom fishing while waiting for indy ag and his wife to catch up. Once they arrived, we headed upstream to a spot indy ag had scoped out on a previous trip. It was a perfect spot along a bend in the river that opened up to a wide flat, so the four of us could fish the river for catfish while spreading out cut bait in the open flats for gar.

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indy ag and indy ag-ette set up.

Fishing with chicken livers, punch bait and live bait, we produced tons of hits from the catfish, but they were all either small, tiny or miniscule. Lots of strikes were missed, and the ones that landed weren't much to brag about. This was the first dink that I caught, and he was a harbinger of fish to come:

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Turning him over, I see that something had taken a nice chunk out of him:

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Well, back into the water you go. If you can avoid the jaws of the bigger fish for another year, you'll be eligible for the stringer treatment!

We catch and release a dozen undersized channel and blue cats, when finally Matt sets his hook into something good, and lands this nice, chunky blue. And by blue, I mean BLUE! The picture doesn't really do it justice, but it was the most vibrant blue of any blue cat I've ever seen.

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To the stringer with you!

Like I said, we were catching lots of small fish, but this is ridiculous:

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I won't be taking home any big-fish awards with this guy any time soon.

Unfortunately, none of our cut-bait lines could entice a strike from the monster gar lurking in the big pool. However, one of indy ag's catfish lines produced a hit, and could it be:

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Yes, the first gar of the day:

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It's not an alligator gar, but it's a start.

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indy ag offered me the gar, as I wanted to take one home to use in the gumbo, but I passed on it, thinking we'd land a bigger one later. That turned out to be a big FAIL on my part. Before releasing it, I took a few pics of him holding his first gar by rod and reel, but somehow those pictures got erased. EPIC FAIL on my part.

Tiring of dink cat after dink cat, we elected to head upstream and moved into uncharted territory for us. At the top of the pool, I came face to face with a monster gar that must have pushed 100#, as it came up to gulp air. Seeing that beast come up and flash those teeth would've made my hair fall out if mother nature hadn't already taken them from me!

We traversed a couple of lenghty portages as we moved upstream in search of new spots:

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Matt and I found a sandbar and put out cut bait in search of bigger and better fish. Our new spot immediately began producing results, as we got several strikes from gar that we missed. Finally, Matt set his hook into something good. Not a gar, but a hefty catfish in the 5-6# range. Unfortunately, as I tried to scoop it with the landing net, the treble hook somehow worked itself loose and flew out of the fish's mouth, and we watched lunch swim away.

A little while later, the slack in Matt's line slowly began to straighten. He engaged his reel and firmly set the hook. The hook on the other end didn't budge. "You hung?" I asked. He quietly muttered, "I don't think so." I looked back at his line and the taught line started to move out, and his drag started to click. Excited to see him catch a monster flathead, I told him, "I'll grab the net," when the water's surface exploded, as a gator gar broke through it. "I'll get the noose!" I exclaimed, as Matt struggled to keep the fish out of some nearby hangups. The gar, estimated at 30#, zig-zagged at our feet with tremendous speed as I tried in vain to get the noose around its upper mouth or tail. Still green, the gar evaded my efforts and finally broke off and returned to the deep.

Several more runs resulted in missed strikes and broken lines, but we never came any closer to landing an alligator gar. The sun was starting to get high in the sky, and the beer and air conditioning back home started to sound better and better, but I was determined to not go home empty-handed. We paddled back to the launch in stages, as we fished spots we had skipped, as I searched for at least one keeper catfish, and Matt searched for the gar that got away.

Finally, in a little riffle below a portage, I waded out and cast a chicken liver just upstream of a stump. A slight tick on the end of the line, and I set the hook into the keeper cat that had eluded me all day:

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Calling it a day, we headed back to the launch, struggled up the hill and headed for home.


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:42 pm 
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Which section of the river was that.....?


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:11 pm 
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Location: Cypress.......watching the weather to go BTB fishing!
Good, interesting report.......congrats on an eventful trip!!


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:28 pm 
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The smile in the last pic is great. What you don't know is that Chris was totally cracking up because I had been looking in the wrong end of the camera!

Nice to get away from it all for a short while. I'll certainly treasure the memory of relaxing in the shade under those riverbank plants, claiming "I almost hope I don't get a bite, because then I'd have to move", and then promptly hooking up with a big cat! Too bad that one got away...


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:03 pm 
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Awesome report and pics. Almost as good as the gumbo. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:30 pm 
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Location: Independence, TX
Maul, you didn't say it was your b-day! Happy birthday man!! Glad to see you finally landed that keeper! This was a great trip that I should really make more often as close to the house as it is.

Thats some good photos of my first (hopefully of many) rod and reel gar. I need heavier gar gear. Tuition first.. :( . I have to admit that wasn't the second gar of the day. As I recall Mattias caught one on an artificial prior to that.

Randy, this is the Navasota upstream from 105. At average flows most of the river is placid with a few riffles that have to be portaged. Much more scenic (and easy to paddle) than the Brazos a few hundred yards west on 105.

The wife and I went upstream a bit more from the last bar Maulwalker and Mattias fished. We found another big pool that had some large gar rolling in it. As we pulled out to head back downstream one decided to smile at me. About 4' from the yak this guy (small by AG standards) stuck his head out 90 degrees to the boat, gulped and back down. That really gets the blood pumping. This is a great place for tracking down alligator gar but lacks the large sandbars for easy landing of large fish that are common on the Brazos only a half mile away. It also lacks the traffic and trash that are common on this stretch of the Brazos.


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:01 pm 
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Indy, the gar I hooked early on the spinner was only on for a single run, then spit the hook. Yours was the first and only one that was actually landed.


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:28 pm 
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Those gator gar get in your blood,they are a hoot to catch.
Ron


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:08 am 
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What a great report! Sounds like a great adventure, very well chronicled. Your bird in question is a Tricolored Heron: http://www.birdsasart.com/Tricolored%20 ... 20soto.jpg .


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:32 pm 
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I really like the scenery, it looks like that is a nice place to paddle. I really need to get out to some of the rivers around here.


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:49 pm
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Location: Bryan, TX
Great report. When you started the trip did you start by going up stream or down stream?


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:43 pm 
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cat_killer wrote:
Great report. When you started the trip did you start by going up stream or down stream?


We put in at the 105 and went upstream. We didn't fish downstream of the bridge at all, but there are plenty of good spots downstream.


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 Post subject: Re: Navasota River 8/9/9
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:20 pm 
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As a postscript to this trip, we cleaned the fish and threw the guts in the trash can in the garage, since I was too lazy to go dump them in the creek. Predictably, by trash day (Tuesday) the garage reeked of putrefaction. Trash day came, and the garage smelled a little better...a little.

By Wednesday the garage was intolerably nausiating, and it was quite evident that something was amiss....and Mrs. Maulwalker was none too pleased with the situation. After work yesterday I pulled my kayak out of the garage, which revealed a swarm of flies and maggots surrounding my kayak crate.

Turns out there were two bags of drum pieces left in my crate. Also turns out that drum can turn into a green liquid in just a few days. Oh, it's nasty. Real nasty.

The end.


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