It’s only been a few months since I’ve been to the Brazos River, but it’s felt like years. That’s the kind of pull that river has on me. And so when Dan and I got the opportunity to fish it with Shane Davies, we jumped at it. The float plan would have us put in and take out all within the confines of Pecan Plantation, just south of Lake Granbury. The last time Dan and I fished this particular stretch of the Brazos, we found hundreds of dead or dying fish from a golden algae bloom. Some blooms have more impact than others, and a year and a half later, we really didn’t know what we were going to find on this part of the river.
Daybreak revealed a low cloud cover and a quick weather check confirmed it–we’d be fishing in the rain. So we unloaded the gear in a slight drizzle, snapped some pics and launched. Then, as if on cue, the rain began in earnest and for the next hour the rain came down in sheets. In this photo, Shane paddles just south of the put in. We actually caught fish in this weather.. .well, Shane and Dan did, but I was taking lots of hits on a buzzbait. Couldn’t seal the deal on any of the hits, but it was fun. And besides, real anglers don’t quit because of some rain.
Compare that photo to this one taken a few hours later – Same yak, same rigs, same Shane, but no rain. Not sure if it was the weather change that shut them down, but it seems to me that the fishing got harder after it stopped raining.
But don’t feel too sorry for us. Although the bite wasn’t exactly robust, there were some fish like this little bass Dan got on a wacky- rigged senko. Actually Dan and I came out to catch fish but we really wanted to snap some kayaking photos. I haven’t seen any of Dan’s pics from this trip yet; these are all pictures I took.
The famous Shane Davies and the not-so-famous Dan Rodriguez–what a fishing duo. First of all, I’m way outclassed by both these two when it comes to fishing abilities. Of course, Shane’s fishing prowess are legend and his accomplishments well known, but even he will tell you that Dan’s a great angler in his own right. He has the ability to find fish and give them just the right presentation needed to draw strikes. I may be older, but Dan’s twice the angler I am.
Shane does this thing where he rides the bow of his kayak and ‘crabs’ his way along the river if its shallow enough or just paddles his legs to propel himself along the deeper holes like this one, which as you can see, hold sand bass. We went home with a stringer of about a dozen eaters.
As mentioned earlier, Dan wanted to get some photos while on this trip, and if kayak fishing pics are what you seek, who better to have along than Shane Davies? Dan uses a Cannon 60D that he hauls around in a water proof Pelican case strapped to the bow of his yak. He also carries a tripod. It’s not usual for him to take 15-20 minutes setting up his equipment and getting the light just right. The results are some pretty good shots, many of which are featured here on LSC.
We spent the majority of the day using artificials – everything from buzz baits to bombers. But later in the day, Shane had a hankering for some live bait fishing and he broke out his cast net. I managed to snap this picture of his cast, and you can see Dan behind the net photographing the cast from a different perspective.
You wouldn’t think it’d be that hot after the front passed, but I gotta tell you, it was toasty. Now at first it felt good especially after being drenched by the morning rain. But by mid afternoon, it was just plain hot again. However, in this photo, Dan remedies that by stepping into one of the deeper holes, literally.
We rounded a bend and came across this very large drainage station. Not exactly sure how it works, but Dan felt the need to do what all good Marines do when they find something new and large: climb it and recon.
Skinny water, middle water, deeper water–this stretch of the Brazos had it all. The flow was pretty low–probably about 50 CFS–and we did a lot of yak dragging. But there were plenty of cool deeper holes along the way, and most of them held fish.
At one point, we beached the yaks and Shane pitched some Trick Sticks into some rock ledges that suddenly appeared in the river. This was the result…
Even though there weren’t a ton of fish caught on this trip, it was a great day to be on the water, and even the morning rain just made it all the more of an adventure. In total, we spent about 8 hours on the river and fished more than we paddled. There were even a few riverside naps taken by some who may have stayed up too late the night before. But it was a great day, especially when you consider that we didn’t know what we were going to find because of the golden algae bloom. What we did find is a river that seems to be recovering nicely judging by the health of the fish that we caught. The river is renewing itself even as I type this, and confirming that was the best part of the whole trip.