TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

Their schedule is posted. Hatchery trout make great bass snacks. Combine that fact with my fondness for swimbait throwing, and it could be a fun winter season on some of the stocked waters.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers and posters of TKF!

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Last edited by Cuervo Jones on Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cuervo, you forgot to post the link
https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/ma ... .phtml?s=o

Before internet photos, lived in Austin, and made a sweep of all the put-and-take stockings. Blue Hole in Georgetown, the ponds at Taylor, Blanco SP.
Never failed to catch them on a fly rod - best flies were size 14 soft hackles, fished with a slight crawl.

Best bait is corn.
When my babies were 3 and 4, living in Bulverde, used to take them along with grandad to Blanco SP. We'd start by them sitting on my lap and tying corn kernel flies with yellow chenille. I would chum up trout with corn, and they'd catch them on a flyrod.
They never had much attention span for it, would wander off and find crayfish and turtles, which of course ended up in aquariums at home.
They'd always end up filling up the hippers. But I've done this before, with towels and a change of clothes in the truck.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
As far as the Guadalupe, I've thrown catastic at several known striper holes without reply, including bouncing the lure on the bottom.

I harvested 7 stripers from the tailrace one season swinging a cats whisker on a T130 sinking line.

they wouldn't take the fly stripped, only on a natural swing - here, bottom bouncing worked. The best colors were gray body and tail with either light olive or gray wing. I also threw mixes of tan and mustard, with rust or brown wing, and they wouldn't touch them.
For stripers, I tie the fly on a 4x-long size 6 stainless salt hook, with large stainless chain bead.
the person I know who catches the most river stripers, Gene Ruede, fishes cut bait on the bottom.

I discovered stripers' fondness for the technique by accident, swinging size 10 streamers on a 5-wt to check for holdover rainbows.
I hooked up two that morning, and the second, which was a bit larger, broke the hook just before I could lip it.
it's very much a crack of dawn event, and they shut down when the sun hits the water.
you need backing, because the opposite of trout, they head downriver first, and you have to stop them and turn them before they cry uncle and come back up. One of you will be almost dead when you get them to hand.
Got my friends into them, too that winter - Curtis is standing on the shelf at barking dog pool, and the hole he's fishing is about 8' deep.
Curtis is using my back-up reel and line - his rod is 8' Phillipson glass 6-wt
Here, Eric's hooked up - he's on the tailout of barking dog pool, and you can see the slope of Rocky Top downriver
Out my 7, I had 3 over 30"

Jeff Schmitt was fishing a San Juan worm on a 4-wt and landed a 32-lb striper after a savage battle that included a bit of swimming to chase it downriver (I'm guessing the striper flared on the baitfish drawn to the worm pattern).
http://grtu.org/newsletters/2004-Octobe ... letter.pdf
If Jeff had submitted it rather than filleted it, it would have been the state fly rod record. However the record would have only stood two years.

Here's John Erskine with his state fly rod record, 35.65 lbs, 43 inches - there were 5 rainbows in its belly.
stripers fillet and grill beautifully...
Last edited by Ron Mc on Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
I can tell you the flow was 450 cfs when I caught the first two, and for the rest of that season, flows never dropped below 200 cfs.
Flows like this aren't random wading - you know exactly where you're going, plan every step, and probe with your staff before taking the step.
Many people have stories of hooking good rainbows only to have a striper eat them in front of their eyes.
And as I said, catching stripers was Always crack-of-dawn.

Other known striper holes are Maricopa, below Ponderosa bridge (you can pay access at Ponderosa livery, where the road tees over the bridge), and of course, the flood gate pool at the dam. Go rip dey lips.
Every one you fillet will keep several dozen rainbows in the river.

Trout Support rigged drop shot to get to the bottom might be worth a try - I'd vote for WhoDini , but you never know, bone diamond or pink might work.
It would also be easy to fish from a kayak over the big holes.
Nice writeup. Speaking of watching every step. I perched on top of a rock this morning to sling a dry fly at a couple huge Bows, lost my balance and stepped forward into what was 2" above my waders and got alot of cold water in my waders. Can you say Leg Day. Good workout trying to walk out, lol

Ron Mc wrote:I've had my waders and fleece layers rung out and hanging on trees before. Sitting on a rock in my base layer and smoking a cigar.
I've fallen in all the best fishing holes.
Well, at least you had a cigar with you, otherwise you might look silly sitting there

pontoonman wrote:What are the fastest drying base and top layers? I've heard to stay away from cotton. I use baggy/stretchy nylon pack pants/shirt for outer layer when it's not too cold.


I'm wearing full winter wading togs in this photo - base, insulation and shell, top and bottom.
generally stay away from cotton because the fibers get wet through and through - including with your sweat.
Wicking is the property that carries your sweat away from your skin, to evaporate through your breathable shell layer. Soggy fabric doesn't wick, but holds your sweat close to your skin, so you lose body heat and suffer exposure even if you're working hard enough to sweat.

Capeline is fastest drying synthetic, and merino wool the fastest drying natural fiber.
Ski-wear is a great place to look for winter base layers.
I bicycle a lot, including the winter, so I have a lot of merino wool base layers in different lengths and weights. Summer and winter - I wear merino tees and boxer briefs to cycle in summer.
Don't think of merino as itchy wool - it's soft and smoother on your skin than most synthetics - the aussies are onto something.
I shop sierratradingpost for my merino base layers.
Merino fibers stay sealed for better wicking and quick-drying by washing in a tea-tree-oil product such as Kookabura wool wash. This product will even improve wicking and drying in cotton fabrics.

This is a cozy Calida base layer top, a warm cotton-poly blend, but worthless if it gets wet. I always wear a fishing shirt over the base layer so I have the pockets.
I mostly wear merino base layers and synthetic fleece bottom insulation layer inside waders. I have some older capeline top and bottom base layers as well - they won't wear out as long as you wash on gentle to keep the fibers intact.
Sometimes my top insulation layer is also a wool sweater.

Inside waders, on my feet I wear poly liner socks, and heavy merino knee socks - ski socks or trekker socks.

The nice thing about wool is it will keep you warm even if it's wet. Wet synthetic layers will cause you to lose your body heat more quickly. Best (or worst) example is synthetic fleece fingerless gloves - they're a detriment when they become wet, but merino fingerless fishing gloves will still keep your hands warm when they're wet - Filson makes these.
Image though most often between this point of hooking up and handling the fish in the net, I usually remember to peel the gloves and put them in my pocket to avoid them getting wet

The standard approach to outdoor active togs is breathable outer seal layer. Of course wading, our waders are bottom seal layer.
A non-insulated goretex shell is the best top seal layer for keeping out wind and rain.
I also have Haglofs goretex rain pants that usually stay in my kayak dry bag for wind and rain kayak fishing, also great for cold-morning power-boat riding. Generally wear fishing shorts under these for when the day warms.

I like baggy cycling togs, and some of my nylon cycling pants also work really well with the knee socks in place of a heavier insulation layer inside waders on those days where the river is 50-degrees and the air is 70. They're also very handy for the drive to the river, planning to put on the heavier insulation and waders when I park the truck.

speaking of bicycling for exercise, I'm 60-y-o, my at-rest pulse is 42, and BP the same as when I was 19 - I smoke cigars and eat anything I want.
Thanks for the great info! I like the stretchiness of biking clothes also, usually I will go a size or two bigger, to reduce binding.

What to do when the mornings start out cold and the afternoons are too warm for layers, especially in full sun? Carrying the removed layers is somewhat of a hassle, and they sometimes will end up getting wet.

In and out of the dry bag as the temperature changes from full sun to full shade, doesn't work all that well for me, and I don't have that much storage for a dry bag. I've been using various zippered tops which let me quickly ventilate or close up, but there may be a better solution.

Cigarsnjeeps wrote:Frankly, if its cold in the AM and I know its going to warm up significantly later, I just dress for the in between temp and suffer a little on both ends or dress light and suffer in the AM, lol


If the sun's going to come out, it's always going to warm up in a TX winter. It's nothing to swing from 20 to almost 80 when the cold high pressure settles in overnight, and a windless sunny day the next day - blue norther.
If you start the day with hypothermia, your day is probably not going to improve.

Not much you can do about the bottom layers when you're on the river, but you should only have one or two top layers that you need to peel - a fleece insulation layer and a shell. That's one reason I carry a fishing bag with a wide canvas strap. As I said, I buy techy shells with smart coupon work at sierratradingpost. A good lightweight shell will stuff into its own inner pocket, and zip into a two-fist-size pillow to hang on a carabiner on my fishing bag strap. If the fleece layer then still has to peel, I just use the sleeves and knot it around the bag strap. There also may be room in my bag to stuff one of the layers.
Most days fishing, you're going to end up in your base layer and fishing shirt.
Trying to find a photo that shows the fishing bag

Another option, if you're traveling downriver and planning to wade back the same way, tie your layer to a tree and don't forget it on your way back.

If I'm trout-fishing on the Guadalupe, will probably break for lunch and occupy at least two different parking spots over a day. When I get to the truck, I can adjust everything - top and bottom layers - for the difference between morning and afternoon fishing.

On those really nasty 45-degree and blowing light rain all day, even your layers may not feel like enough.
A good felt hat with a cheap vinyl hat cover can make all the difference - if your head is warm, you can suffer through a lot.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:20 am, edited 4 times in total.
separate post on hats (yeah, the BBQ stand in Sattler has the best chop sandwich in TX - they use the good stuff, the burned ends)
A brim makes so much sense. It keeps the sun and weather away from your face, neck and ears.
ImageThis 60-y-o 100% beaver Ryon has a long history. It was given to me in about '79 by a coworker from her FIL's estate. It didn't quite fit, so I clipped a couple of stitches in the hat band. Back then it was blocked like a Stetson Open Road (though a higher-quality hat).
ImageIt was my winter fishing hat through the 80s, made trips to the Rockies with trout-wizard buddies (Billy Trimple and Alan Bray). I slept under it a few nights light-camping on a gravel bar during white bass runs. Gave it to my BIL who stomped it into the floorboard of his Ford for ten years, and later gave it back to me. My girls then took it over.

In 35 years of winter fishing on the Guadalupe, (and summer in AK) I've been through a few hats.
ImageBeaver blend helps a bit in a hat weathering, but if they have any rabbit, they'll still get soggy and flop. Tried a Stetson kangaroo felt, but it only lasted two years before flopping out of usefulness, tried starching, which was a band-aid. Plus, it always smelled like a wet kangaroo.
After doing the math, I finally broke down and ordered the custom 100% beaver fedora a few posts above. If you want to know what I paid you can ask (check the link) - the custom hat was less than half the cost of a 100% beaver brim off the shelf at a local hat shop. https://vscustomhats.com/ (Art, btw, makes all the vintage hats used in the movies.)
But it's the last hat I'll ever need.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Thanks for the pictures and tips, Ron!

For cold and sun protection, I sometimes use a medium base layer and a water repellant zippered hoodie or 2 shells with a baseball cap underneath. The baseball cap or visor part shades my eyes, while keeping the hood material out of my face and keeps drizzle off my eyeglasses. Temperature adjustment is by opening or closing the zippers, or removing one of the compact storing shells if it gets hot. Pretty dorky looking, but nobody there to see me at some of the remote places I fish. :D

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