TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


#1686296
I am a little slow posting this and I may have over done it with the pics so forgive me.

First off I want to give a HUGE thanks to DNR, Hirschunter, & Gerald for all their help in planning this trip.

I arranged a shuttle service through Rising Phoenix out of Bastrop, they came highly recommended here on the board and with good reason. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to do a one way float on this stretch of river.

http://www.risingphoenixadventures.com/

The original plan was for me and Moose (my 100lb lab) to launch out of Bastrop Saturday morning and float to Smithville. My buddy Chad would meet us in Smithville Monday morning for the final leg to La Grange. When Chad showed up he had a returning infection on the back of his leg. We decided to head for Plum Park figuring we could call a friend in Austin to come get us if Chad's leg got any worse. In the end we had to pull out at Plum Park for a total of 43 miles in 3 days, 26 miles solo (really me and Moose) and 17 with Chad. Total seat time was around 15hrs,

I met John (from Rising Phoenix) in La Grange Saturday morning around 8. While I was waiting I saw this heard of dear next to the planned take out.
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Once John arrived we loaded all my gear and he took me to Bastrop to start my adventure. I was a little surprised to see that the entire launch site was bulk headed and concrete, no grass/sand for launching my canoe :( We finally got under way around 10am.
Moose waiting semi-patiently for us to get underway in Bastrop:
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My bow man watching out for icebergs:
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Waterfall about 0.5 mile from the launch:
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About a mile from the launch there is an island, if you take the right side there is a nice canopy to paddle under:
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I had been paddling along with a couple of kayakers that seemed to know the area. At the end of the canopy we stopped to visit and I asked how far we had traveled since my gps had spazed out on me. My gps said I had been drifting along between 3.5 & 4 mph but after an hour we had only traveled 1 mile, it was time for me to quite messing around!

A few miles down river I came up on this old bridge:
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Around mile 6 or 7 I got to the burned area. I saw some of the damage along the highway when we were driving in and I have to say it did not look nearly as bad from the river.

Coming up on the burned area:
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A few homes along the river:
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I made camp around mile 13, there are lots of good places to camp along this stretch. I picked a sand bar that had a line of trees so I could utilize my hammock. Total seat time for day one was 5.5 hours.
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#1686315
Day 2:

I broke camp and shoved off early Sunday morning, I knew I had another 13 miles to cover and was going to have a strong headwind, I did not want to take any chances. I made camp the first night about half way between Bastrop and Smithville. If you paddle this stretch make sure you give yourself enough time on the second half to make it all the way to Smithville, THERE ARE NO ISLANDS OR SANDBARS to camp on. When I say there are none I am not exaggerating, there are NONE. There are lots of high banks and no trespassing signs.

One of the nicer fish camps/docks along the way:
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Private Boat Ramp:
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Cliff at the final turn before the last long stretch to Smithville, and into a headwind...
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Sashimi anyone?
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Just a nice landscape shot:
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Smithville water tower coming into view:
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Hwy 71 boat ramp in Smithville:
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Nice set of fast flowing ripples:
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There is an island just down from the Riverbend Park in Smithville that you could camp on, however I decided to camp on the beach in the park. I am not sure if you are supposed to do this but there were two trees perfectly spaced for my hammock. This was hands down my favorite camp site. We got there around 1:30 and Moose and I swam the rest of the afternoon and played a LOT of fetch! Total seat time for day 2 was around 4 hours.

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Camp for night #2:
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Got one more days worth of pics to post, bear with me :roll:
Last edited by Dogpaddlin on Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#1686412
Day 3: Smithville to Plum Park

Chad met me Monday morning at Riverbend Park in Smithville, we got the boats loaded down and shoved off around 11am, a really late start. This was going to be the longest day of paddling so far, 17 miles to Plum Park. This also turned out to be my favorite stretch of river so far. I really liked the first half of the Bastrop to Smithville stretch, but this section had a much more remote feeling. I really think this was the most scenic section as well. We are planning on coming back and and doing this stretch again, but going all the way to La Grange next time!

Loaded up and ready to go:
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Moose waiting on us again...
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Underway, finally:
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Evidently my company is exhausting! It could also have been the hours of swimming and fetch we played the day before...
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Where's Moose?
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In the bottom of the boat asleep, that's where!
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I think this was my favorite picture, probably also my favorite part of the river.
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I am not really sure what this was maybe an old mine of some sort?
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Bunch of buzzards, man these things STINK!!!
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This was a pretty cool old train bridge, we happened to pass under just a few minutes before a coal train passed by. If you look close you can see the box cars on the right side of the bridge.
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These were strung along about a 200yd stretch of the river, anybody have any idea what they are?
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Here is a picture of the sign at Plum Park, Chad and I were both exhausted and VERY glad to see it!
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When we got to Plum Park I was real hot! Total seat time for day 3 was around 5 hours, not having a headwind really made a difference!
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Last edited by Dogpaddlin on Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#1686803
Thanks for all the kind words guys, this really was a GREAT trip!

FYI, I have gone back and edited my original post to include the amount of seat time for each day. One of the things I was worried about when planning my trip was whether I would be able to cover enough ground/water each day. I should also mention that I did no fishing while on the water, just straight paddling with a few short breaks here and there to stretch my legs. The river flow was right around 1200cfs each day and we had a pretty stiff headwind on days 1 & 2. It really was not that difficult to cover the distances.

Hirschhunter wrote:Fantastic report. Not everybody goes to the builders forum and knows you built you canoe. Can you give us a quick evaluation on the total load you carried and thoughts on its performance? :D


The canoe has been my project over the last two years. I got the plans from Northwest Canoe ( http://www.northwestcanoe.com/canoes.html ). The plans are free however, they do ask for a donation to a charitable organization. For those that are interested I did a complete build log here: viewtopic.php?f=71&t=134757&start=0

The canoe itself weighed in at 32lbs the last time we checked her, she is a little heavier than that now since I added the seat and foot brace. All my gear weighed around 75lbs, Moose weighs about 100lbs, and I am about 200lbs for a grand total of about 400lbs. I can tell you next time I do a multi day trip Moose is going to have to stay at home! The Merlin handled the load alright but it would have been a lot easier fighting the wind with 100lbs less displacement.

As far as performance, I am happy with it. The Merlin is really not designed for a load quite that big but she handled it alright. When fighting the headwind she did catch more than Chad's boat. Fully loaded and without a headwind she will cruise along between 3.5 mph & 4 mph pretty easy. The Merlin is also a very strong tracker. With most canoes you kind of wander down the river but the Merlin was like she was on a string. For river travel I think I would rather have a boat with a little more maneuverability. If there is anyone interested in building one feel free to give me a shout, I would be more than happy to let you test paddle mine.

The boat Chad paddled I built as a wedding gift a few years ago, it was a prototype designed by our very own Gerald. I also did a build log for it: viewtopic.php?f=71&t=128289
I am planning on building one similar for myself in the very near future. It has a lower profile so the wind does not affect it as much and it is a MUCH simpler build. It is also seemed to be a much more efficient boat. Chad was really taking it easy while I was paddling pretty hard to keep up. Here is a link to Gerald's website/blog, if you are interested in building your own boat I would encourage you to contact him: http://www.theoldmansboats.com/p/boat-p ... -sale.html

fisher of people wrote:Great report, beautiful canoe, and nice looking dog to boot! What kind of hammock are you using? Congrats on doing a canoe camping trip with a dog that size, not an easy feat!


You are right, it is not easy taking a large and constantly shifting load like a Moose on a canoe trip. Your "retreat" posts really helped motivate me to take him. He is a great dog/companion and will probably get to go on more overnight trips in the future but I think he is going to have to stay home for the multi day excursions. The kayakers I paddled a little ways with asked me how long it took me to get him to stay in the boat, when I told them about 5 minutes they almost passed out. He really is a great and obedient dog, I can take him just about anywhere without a leash with no problems. I would recommend that anyone planning on taking a dog with them know how their dog will react to cattle and other animals before getting out in the middle of the boonies.
#2100671
Wow, I am not sure how I missed this report. Great report and great pics. Love the canoe and traveling with the pooch. I have not done that stretch and it looks awesome. Are you interested in paddling from Austin or Weberville all the way to the mouth sometime this winter if it comes a significant rain? Also, I am leading a trip for DDRC from Little Weberville to Bastrop Jan 2-4, 2015. See my post from a week or so ago.

Thanks for the report.

SYOTW,

Earl
#2100907
Earl wrote:Wow, I am not sure how I missed this report. Great report and great pics. Love the canoe and traveling with the pooch. I have not done that stretch and it looks awesome. Are you interested in paddling from Austin or Weberville all the way to the mouth sometime this winter if it comes a significant rain? Also, I am leading a trip for DDRC from Little Weberville to Bastrop Jan 2-4, 2015. See my post from a week or so ago.

Thanks for the report.

SYOTW,

Earl


Link me to your post I might be able to talk the wide into this trip also
#2101055
Earl wrote:Wow, I am not sure how I missed this report. Great report and great pics. Love the canoe and traveling with the pooch. I have not done that stretch and it looks awesome. Are you interested in paddling from Austin or Weberville all the way to the mouth sometime this winter if it comes a significant rain? Also, I am leading a trip for DDRC from Little Weberville to Bastrop Jan 2-4, 2015. See my post from a week or so ago.

Thanks for the report.

SYOTW,

Earl


This was a trip I took back in 2011. I'm glad it somehow got revived, it was AWESOME!

Earl, I saw your post about the trip to Bastrop, unfortunately I have to work Friday. If things change or I can get out early and come meet you guys I might give it a whirl.

Austin to the coast... now that sounds like an adventure! I think I may have to send you a p.m. :wink:

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