The weather in these parts is perfect for fishing. I'm going to try to squeeze some creek or small river fishing in this next week. It's a good time to go fishing, as fish are supposedly stocking up on protein for the winter ahead. Or so I've heard. They don't hibernate, of course, but the chain of life in freshwater slows during the late fall and winter, only to come raging back in the spring.
Before I launch into where I might go freshwater fishing over the next few weekends with the family in some sort of country rental cabin fishing locale, let me give this fishing report from my friend the inveterate saltwater fisherman, Terry.
Terry went to do some seminar going down in Corpus for week, and went early and stayed late, taking his kayak. Using only one lure, a Norton Bull Minnow, he landed an incredible amount of fish in two places: Packery Channel and on the Jetties at the Yacht Club harbor in downtown Corpus. Specks mostly with a smattering of redfish with a HUGE red from the channel and some flounder I think.
I'd tell you the color of this highly successful Norton Bull Minnow lure but I'm confused. Terry seems to have told me a combination of several different names, so the name I wrote down when he told me might not be the proper name. Pictures seem to be lacking of some of the full product line everywhere it seems, although I seemed to find one that sorta fit the description. He didn't have it with him when he was telling me the name of it, but he described it and *I think* I may have figured out which one it is.
He fishes it with a jig head, with a rattler inserted in the body of the Bull Minnow. No popping cork.
Terry took two highly successful trips to Packery Channel in his kayak, landing specks and some reds and the HUGE red that pulled his kayak around a bit and then fished on two separate occasions on the downtown jetty, catching specks. He mentioned catching something else, I think a flounder, and I was surprised he didn't catch a mangrove snapper down around the Corpus downtown jetty, as I've caught them there before.
So as of two weeks ago, Corpus had some happening fishing going on in those two locales.
And onto some freshwater river talkin'.
The family needs a fall break, so to speak. We often go to Port A, so we'd like to maybe go out Llano or Mason way.
I don't care where you live in Texas, well, as long as you don't live WAYYY out in certain far West Texas where the draws and "creeks" are mostly dry, where once they flowed strongly and year round, until invasive plant species came west with the horses, cattle and other livestock that were transplanted there in the late 1800's.
I consider San Angelo to be sort of one of the gateways to West Texas, so to speak. So is Junction, further to the south of San Angelo. There's great fishing to be had in both of those places, although I profess a sincere preference for fishing the Llano River anywhere it is located, and therefore Junction is a more favorite locale of mine, whereas Billy Ray prefers San Angelo and has kinfolk and family history ties there.
From Llano to Mason are lots of places where access can be had on the Llano for fishing, although it takes some prior internetting to get in contact with the folks and make arrangements and so on. I've fished at peoples places, which sometimes had deer cabins for rent, on more than one occasion on the Llano.
We like being near a town of maybe 3,000 or so, which guarantees a handful of decent places to eat or some sort of store for the forgotten or the emegency item, and perhaps a county or other museum or sightseeing stuff. There's lots of history all over Texas, and tons of small communities have museums and stuff and are just dying to show you all kinds of cool stuff.
As a firearms enthusiast, and a student of the old west, I'm always amazed to see the impements and tools of daily life, as well as the occasional old "family" gun or knife on display. You just never know what kind of cool stuff you see in small town museums, and it gets you thinking about how spoil't we are in this Electro-Computo-Stereotized day and age we live in.
There are a few gems of public access on this river, one I've found where a boat or kayak can easily be launched as the public area is right on the river where you can park right there next to the river to unload/load your boat. Not really a boat ramp but if you can lift a jonboat or similar small craft right into the water and be fishing in less than a minute.
We and I both prefer to find a cabin somewhere near a more charming small town where El Fisho Jr. and I can fish and Mrs. El Fisho can read and ipod and such. River or creek or small lake, it matters not so long as the place is on the upscale side of decent (I prefer a more decent cabin myself) and we can cook and there are nice facilities and there is some sort of outside balcony or porch.
There are tons of places to go on lakes and rivers and creeks all over Texas. Whereas in the early 2000's it was difficult to find a wide variety of rental properties or cabins on a small/big lake or river/creek, it's far more easy now. Just google cabin and the name of the river and you'll come up with all sorts of websites about rentals in that area. Often the C of C has a link to various cabins as well.
Ask questions about the fishing, of course, and if it's a river look for a property that has a dammed up section or deep holes for some better chances at fishing. Many places come with some sort of rowboat or jonboat, so ask about that too. You might need to rustle up some oars, anchor, and life vests if they don't have them.
If the cabin is actually pretty close to the river we stay near, or in the case of a lake, an elevated cabin with a porch over the lake that you can actually fish from, then that's a nice setup too. A have a small duffle bag with a variety of pretty small rod holders I've gathered cheaply over the years to attach with clamps or stakes to a wide variety of surfaces, and we like to do some live bait and catfish chicken liver fishing if we're fishing at night. I always tie these rods in rod holsters to something with paracord or some good rope. If I'm fishing for catfish, then I might tie the reel and the rod both with several cords to a nice sapling or tree near the river instead of a holder.
I've also used PVC pipe rod holsters and clamped them harmless to trees using zip cords that can easily be cut off when through fishing with no damage to the tree. Often, these are the most study rod holster being thoroughly lashed to a tree, and if you've got your drag set properly, then you're in good shape. Still, when doing any kind of fishing where a stake mounted rod holder is not firmly grounded or where a "Y" shape stick is forced into the ground, keep an eye on that rod if a big old hongrey river catfish hits it
The Neuces River offers great fishing and has some motels and cabins available that are the river.
*TIP: If you plan on doing any fishing with any sort of food like bacon or chicken livers or ANY SORT OF CATFISH STINK BAIT, THE SEMI-SOLID DOUGH BAIT KIND, whatever you do if your fishing off of your porch on or on the bank near the river, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TACKLE BOX OPEN where a LARGE RACCOON can jump down right in the middle of your tackle box and grab your open plastic pouch of stink bait and hook himself with a couple of lures at the same time, since said tackle box is open and the stinkbait is laying sorta draped over several open trays of lures with sharp hooks on them. Trust me on this, this is not a good place to be without a sidearm being very close to your hand, with one P'd off raccoon hooked in your tackle box you being in close vicinity.
Just a friendly tip.
So there are lots of ways to spend your money in Texas with Texas small businesses and regular folks with a side business like a cabin rental. By staying in cabins owned by regular folks, who either do it as a business or simply have a few cabins on the family place and rent them out to help pay taxes, there are lots of really nice and picturesque places one can light for a few days of enjoyment and rat race escaping.
To us, it's camping with an upgrade. An isolated river or small lake cabin is better than camping or RV'ing in a State Park, with rules and regulations and all that. With a private cabin rental, close to the water, an outdoor extension cord and a cheap portable work light casting out onto the water and the fishing area can make for some mighty nice night fishing, and you're likely not to be able to do that in the State Park.
So pick that place you've been wanting to go get away from it all. In this economy, it's quite doable, and I've found a willingness in discussions with property owners to be very flexible on discounting their normal rates. Business is down everywhere and folks are spending less money on travel and vacations.
And I'll note that I've found some mighty cool "working sheath knives", fishing gear of all types and handgun holsters in a variety of small town antique, curio, resale and consignment shops. I've got a mighty cool holster and several fishing rods and reels and a very cool "working knife" with a solid blade and a leather covered and stamped handle. Very unique. Bought it out near Uvalde for $2.00 about 30 years ago.
There are still bargains to be had in some of these places, and again, I suspect some serious bargaining can take place on the prices in this economy. Or so I've found and heard. Furniture. Art. Saddles. Tack. Jewelry, photos, spurs, , clothes,boots and just all kinds of items. All sorts of farm implements and things from the olden and not so olden western days for either functional or decorative purposes.