Tuesday, June 16, 2009

VOTE NOW: Pick the next place Billy Ray and I go fishing

Yeah, it's hokey as hell, but here goes. I've got a few people reading this blog, and I think I'll ask you to pick the next fishing trip that Billy Ray and I take over the next month.

I can probably convince Billy Ray (..."As your attorney, Billy Ray, I advise you to abide by the decision of the blog readers") to go along with this, since the two trips presented below for your choosing are trips we've done before either together many times (random road trip fishing expedition) or trips we've done individually with other folks (midnight beach run sunrise fishing trip). Billy Ray is easily influenced when it comes to fishing trips, and has a very fishing-trip-tolerant wife

Both involve driving 400 to 500 miles round trip. So the gas differences are neglible.

So here it is. A. or B. Pick one.


This trip is pretty easy to do if it is not raining. You arrive at the beach sometime around 4 a.m. and set up your camp and get those already rigged rods out there in the surf. You can plant in a sand spike rod holder one or two long casting rods with live or dead bait and use a smaller bay fishing rod to actively fish near shore with either artificials or live bait.

By the time the sun comes up, you're often in the best window for fishing for either school trout or reds. Croaker, sand trout, flounder, hardhead and gafftop catfish are also usual catches from the beach. I generally catch more fish on the mornings when the tide is moving in, as fish are searching the newly flooded beach for edibles, and as the small fish and shrimp come close in so do the big ones seeking the small ones.

But I've also caught fish when there was outgoing or even no tide action. In any event, a nice pot of coffee cooking on the camp stove at sunrise in a spot where you can pull up right near to the waterline with the back of your truck serving as a camp base is a nice place to be in the morning. You can fish until the fish stop biting or until the sun gets too hot around noontime.

Then it's off to rent a room for the day, catch some sleep and eats and then do a little late in the day fishing for a few hours until sunset. Then either off to hear live music or back to the room to crash for the next days ride home. You can add a day if you can only find a two day minimum at a beach hotel, which is not unusual. * Honey, yeah, we have to stay an extra day down here fishing because the motel has a two day minimum*

As with my previous posts about the monster kingfish my friend caught recently on North Padre, my interest in surf fishing has been piqued, although I did have a good round of surf fishing last March at Port Aransas.

But after seeing the king they caught a few weeks ago, I'm inspired to hit it again.


This trip entails heading on a whimsical course in any number of different directions, generally starting from places like Austin, San Marcos or San Antonio. One can go in many directions where there is lots of "live water" and plenty of public access. Occasionally, inexpensive private access can be found, like being allowed to fish at a ranch or a campground. I've had several farmers and ranchers that I stopped along the road to talk to who let me fish at their place, for little or nothing.

Basically, this is what they call the "blue lines" trip. You take your "Back Roads of Texas" book, along with local county maps and perhaps "Fly Fishing in the Texas Hill Country" and you can find all kinds of remote fishing, particularly on large creeks that feed major rivers and are very fishy and not often fished.

Billy Ray and I have not fished the Junction area much, and that area is rife with wild springs and spring fed creeks, not to mention the North and South forks of the Llano river. But on this trip, you look for the blue lines (creeks) and find country roads that cross them. Usually these are low water crossings where you can easily fish, and often these low water crossings are adjacent to gravel bars or are amenable to wading.

The Junction area, particularly that between Junction and Mason, is truly part of what Pearl Beer used to refer to in it's commercials as "The Country of 1100 Springs". The water is clear and relatively clean.

Often times on these back road jaunts, you can find country stores with old men gathered and talking or encounter landowners near the road repairing fence or mowing or crop-tending. A prime opportunity to ask about places to fish or people who will let you have free or cheap access to nearby creeks.

If you're nice and polite, I have found that folks will almost always take a five or a ten, and sometimes gratis, and allow access to their place.

In any event, Billy Ray and I have found some real nice places all over the state using this method of blue line county road driving over the years. It's a nice chance to talk about all kinds of stuff, and to listen to a lot of music. Over the years, Billy Ray and I along with another fellow named Ricky Ray have done a lot of recording ourselves of mostly original music, and pretty much no one but us likes to listen to these hours of CD's that we've accumulated.

So it's a good opportunity to ramble parts of the state we don't see very often, do some fishing, stay in some small town motel, basically with little or no planning. You can do this trip on a "leave at midnight" schedule too, but if you do that it's nice to have a few initial destinations in mind so that by sunrise you're in a fishing position.

And that's where the Fishing Musician likes to be...in a fishing position.

So vote and let me know where we ought to geaux.


  1. I vote for B. It's very Steinbeck. Just don't kill any mice.

  2. I vote on plan A because randomly going through the hill country doesn't sound fun...where's the organization?

  3. Glad that provided you with the necessary guidance.