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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

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Me and Hirschhunter did the 30 mile run on the Brazos starting at Hwy 16 bridge over spring break.
I've been wanting to do this trip for several years now.

We staged at Possum Kingdom State Park Sunday for a Monday morning launch.
We both were paddleing different boats than usual. He lent me his Redfish 14, I really liked it. Sits high in the water for a boat its size, and expecting to be dragging through some shallows I only had to get out once or twice.
Hirschhunter had a Native 14.5, you have probably seen his post about "Lemonade Out of Lemons".

I'll have to give CityByTheSeaCitizen a big thanks for the fishing tips. Unfortunately the wind was pretty strong, blowing us up river at about 4 mph and being spring break the river was full of canoes splashing around in the best fishing areas at the beginning. Oh well, it's a 4 day trip and plenty of time to fish.

The great scenery starts right at launch.



We planned on about 7 miles a day. With camp sites plentiful on this stretch of river, we found perfect camp spots the whole trip.
Camp #1

Rugged beauty-

We went light for this trip, freeze dried food and MREs. I just took my water filter pump so I didn't need to carry water. The water is salty and has a high mineral content so I added powdered lemondade flavor to mine.

I did some bank fishing and caught my first official Brazos River fish. Wasn't big, but a fish just the same.

Dinner time came and we broke out the freeze dried. I brought some camping toys with me.
Volcano stove to heat my water. A few twigs and your in business.



After sitting around the fire for a while we felt a few rain drops and it was about bed time anyway so we hit the sack.
The drops turned to rain and rained for the next 12 hours. Finally around 10am it quit and we came out and delt with the wet mess. Paul has a story to tell about that.


Still nothing can ruin the beauty of the Brazos.


Towards the end of the days paddleing we came across an interesting group of rocks.
I belive these are the ones mentioned in John Graves book.

There was also a perfect camp spot right across the river and we made that home for the night. Actually, I could spend a week in just this one spot it was so nice.

We woke up on day 3 to sunshine, fog and frost.
Then beautiful blue skies for the first time of the trip.

We came through a riffle with a nice deeper hole at the end with a large eddy. We kicked back in the eddy and took a few cast.
Got a bite!

SMB ???

Spotted bass ???

All sitting in the same hole. I know Paul got a few also.

We made our way down to the 20 mile mark at Rochell's first take out and asked the guy there about the next 10 miles. He said there were some camp spots and that the fishing was good. Paul picked up on the guys hesitation about camp spots that I didn't and I was ready to go catch some more fish. It was getting late in the day already, so we planned to fish a little and go down a few miles and camp. As soon as we got down river a little ways we saw No Trespassing signs everywhere on both sides of the river. The sun is going down as we get about 6 miles down from Rochell's. We finally find a place to camp after a 13 mile long day on the water.
We quickly throw up camp and build a fire and eat as the sun gos down.
It was a long day, but actually my favorite. We caught some fish, saw lots of river and after dinner we relaxed with a nice fire and a sky full of stars.

It was cold that night and we awoke to frost on the tents, but the sun came out and warmed both the air and our spirits.

As soon as we launched I started casting at cover and quickly got a good hit on my Beatle Spin.
Good river bass-

As we went down we found some more but not as big.
We arrived at the 30 mile mark around 2pm.

I was looking foward to an adventure and the Brazos did not disappoint.
Had the time of my life.
I always enjoy Pauls company on these trips and certainly did again.
Thanks for doing it Paul.
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By Hirsch
It was a great trip despite some tribulation. The first night on the river we had 12 hours of rain and I learned my old tent, a veteran of 12 years, probably 100 nights and 2 kids should have been retired. :( Everything I had was soaked the next morning and it was about 40 degrees. I dried what I could and packed skipping breakfast. After about an hour on the water my spirits improved. The rest of the trip was downhill. :D Truth is we did not fish quite as hard as we enjoyed the process of camping, loafing and easy floating. We stopped early on Tuesday getting a clothes line out and started drying things out.

The only other challenge began with our last ten miles after a stop at Rochelles to arrainge the second leg of the shuttle. We departed at 4:30 thinking we would get 2-3 miles and set a camp. Unfortunately the first 6 miles is covered with no trespassing signs By the time we got to camp darkness was coming on and my back nearly had me crippled. A quick setting of camp and David getting a roaring fire started along with 800 mg of ibuprofen once again set things right.

It was all in all a great trip and we will likely make another Spring Break Trip next year though possibly a different venue. Perhaps the Devils River or Village Creek and the Neches river. :D

I will have to post pictures later. It will take a bit of playing and learning.
Last edited by Hirsch on Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By Hirsch
As I said above my tent leaked badly. I had sprayed it last fall, along with sealing the seams. It needs to be retired as grandkids play tent. I bought a new Coleman Hooligan 2 (wife says the name fits perfectly! :lol: ) after reading many reviews. One site had about 6 reviews with perfect ratings. Another on a scale of 10 had fourteen 10s, eight 9s and one 7. The 7 rating was based on weight as a backpacking tent while the evaluator praised its cost, waterproofing and other aspects. At less than 8 lbs it is not too heavy for a kayak and fairly compact. Sold online at $50.00 to $60.00 everywhere I saw online I paid $35.00 at Academy.

The next item I have mixed feelings. Two years ago I bought a Coleman collapsible LED lantern that sells for about $22.00 that I really liked. In two years and about 2 dozen nights I was still on my first set of batteries. The first night out as I was turning it off the switch snapped of ruining it. Based on my past experience with Coleman products I will likely call it the oddball fluke and buy another giving it another chance.

Next I bought a Brita filter to clarify water for boiling in coffee and hot breakfast cereals as an economical solution. It worked well, but is not a microbe filter. As you will see later I question its practical value on longer trips.

I would eliminate about 60 lbs right of the bat. I carried about 25 lbs of drinks in the form of sparkling water , a 6 pack of V8 and a 6 pack of grape juice. I would keep the V8 and grape juice and eliminate the 22 lbs of sparkling water. Next time I will spring for a good filter and add powdered flavor packs to the water. The other weight I would leave is an ice chest (about 35 lbs) and forget saving fish on longer trips. Make the one and two night trips for the meat gathering. :D
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By Hirsch
I apparently lost about half the report so to continue.

I tested the freeze dried meals and found them satisfying with stipulations. Due to expense I would limit them to longer trips or boats of limited capacity. The spaghetti and meat sauce was very satisfactory as it was. The beef stew was good, but lacked zip. A hefty dose of Cavender's Greeek Seasoning and a few drops of Cholula hot sauce I am ready to pronounce it good. David had the freeze dried eggs and again with a bit of salt, pepper and cholula said it was good. I was most disappointed in the Chicken a la King. It was bland and I did not know what to spice it with. Longer trips I would use freeze dried meals without reservation with the recommendation of a personalized spice bag. Mine would have salt, Pepper, Cavender's Greek Seasoning and Cholula.

Breakfasts of individual servings of oatmeal and grits supplemented with dried fruit and grape juice plus coffee were satisfying. Figure 2 servings and other hot cereals such as cream of wheat would do fine also. Freeze dried egg every 3rd morning or so would make a nice variation. Lunches for me were small cans of tuna, white chicken meat or Vienna Sausage and a bagel plus snacks of mixed nuts, trail mix, dried apricots or prunes washed down with V8 was filling and satisfying.

Again my back thanked me for my Coleman air mattress and the air pump (4 D cells). A bonus was it did keep me and the sleeping bag out of the water the first night allowing a good nights sleep. By the way the pump also makes an excellent bellows for starting the fire fast! :lol: Wax anbd sawdust fire starters are always nice. The large one dollar bars breaks easily for at least 4 fires.
By dcoates
The wife and i have alwas wanted to take a trip like this!.
we live in south Texas, and really dont have the scenery paddling a river down here.
we def. need to go up north and try up there.
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By Pogo
Splendid photography, DNR! Why, I believe it's the first photo presentation I've seen that actually gives me a good clear idea of what John Graves was talking about in "Goodbye To A River" (note to gang: if you haven't yet read it, you owe it to yourself to correct the deficit). And thanks for the detailed gear and food comments, Hirsch!
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By Beve
Been looking forward to this report. Had thought about you guys all week. Looks like a great trip. Maybe my favorite part of doing a new trip is asorbing all the scenery and dealing with logistics, and hey if you get to fish some, bonus. Great photos of such a beautiful place. The Graves book may be one of my all time faves. Reading Hard Scrabble now, also a good book. I'm glad ya'll got to experience that.

Thanks for the report guys. Nice bass by the way David, that's a good river bass in any river :wink:
"Volcano stove to heat my water. A few twigs and your in business."

UH, are you going to take that cork off the bottle, or just let'er rip??

Great pictures of a very beautiful river. What is the rocks in JG book about?
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By Hirsch
Thinwater skinner wrote: UH, are you going to take that cork off the bottle, or just let'er rip??

:lol: I was amused watching it. When I heard the pop and saw David looking about 10' in the air at the arching cork I knew his water was boiling. The cork is the answer to the whistle on mom's old tea kettle. :D :D :D
Hirschhunter wrote:
Thinwater skinner wrote: UH, are you going to take that cork off the bottle, or just let'er rip??

:lol: I was amused watching it. When I heard the pop and saw David looking about 10' in the air at the arching cork I knew his water was boiling. The cork is the answer to the whistle on mom's old tea kettle. :D :D :D

OH!! Now I get it.
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Thanks for the replys guys.
It is a beautiful place.

Yea, I like to wait for the cork to blow. :lol:
I guess the idea is that the cork builds up pressure and the water boils faster under pressure.
It took about 12 mins.

ProfPlum - Yes I had my Katadyn Hiker Pro. Paul had the Brita and was boiling his water for coffee and meals. He brought water to drink.
Neither got rid of the saltly taste though.
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would love to see the gear list you brought for that trip....could learn alot from it.

Good idea jeremy.
I actually took a photo of my stuff at the take out.


The blue bag has my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and a small camp pillow.
You can see my tent in the pictures, a little one man tent.
Here is my sleeping bag-

My sleeping pad is the smallest I could find, Magellan brand. Packs to 8" x 12". I think it'd be to small for most people, but works for me.
The small camp pillow is a must.

The orange bag is my clothes - took what I was wearing plus one extra set. Quick dry pants and shirt, extra socks in a 1 gal. ziplock.
Also had a heavy flannel in a ziplock.

The green bag is my food - 2 MREs, 2 Mountain House Pro Pack dinners, 3 freeze dried B-fast, ziplock with hot cocoa mixes and Crystal Light drink flavorings.
I also had a ziplock with jerky, trail mix, snack sticks I keep on top of the 'yak to get me through the day.

The yellow bag is my catch all, it's always changing, but on this trip -
Hiker Pro water purifier, head lamp, jet burner and fuel, paper towels in ziplock, aluminium foil, an extra MRE, folding saw, rope and string, can opener, extra ziplocks, first aid kit, extra batt.
My survival kit- small multi tool w/LED flashlight, silver emergency blanket, razor sharp folding knife, water purification tablets; really to much stuff to remember or list.
It also has my fire kit-
Wet Fire fire starters, the sawdust/wax fire starters, magnesium fs with striker, 2 Bic lighter and some tinder.
Survival knife-

That bag has lots of stuff that I honestly can't remember at the moment.

I also had my mess kit, waders, rain jacket, valcano stove, chair, water bottles, oh and you can see my plastic flask-Hornetos.

Of course my fishing stuff - 4 rods and a Plano box of tackle.

I'm sure I forgot some stuff, but thats was my basics.
By RealBigReel
Fortunately you missed the high water.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/tx/nwis/uv?cb ... o=08088610

Normal flow for this area is around 100 CFS

Notice how quickly it went from normal flow to over 7K CFS

This 7K+ CFS flow was of short duration but could have ruined the trip of the unwary.

I have a questions where did you get out at 30 miles. It is well documented 19.5 miles from HWY 16 to HWY 4 (Roechelles) The next HWY crossing would be more than 20 miles further.??

It sounds like you had a pretty good trip. Sorry to hear that the first couple of miles was filled with spring breakers.

You would laugh at my camping setup. Your camping setup looks like my emergency kit. I obviously need to pair down.

Nice job on the bass slam. I am pretty sure that is a smallmouth. They loose their coloration in the sunlight when the water is clear like the brazos. Had you been able to put it in a dark livewell, it would have accentuated the stripes. Also, 16" is a nice river bass. I bet he put up a good fight.

I think Graves refers to those house sized boulders at the mouth of eagle creek as "rhombic blocks <that> twist and slow the green curent of the long pool", which is very fitting. You can paddle all the way around them and in between them, which makes for great pictures. I have camped in the same place a few times, and it is a site that I recommend to everyone. That is very close to the worth boys ranch, and a very scenic portion of the river.

Thanks for the report.

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