A few years back, Texas river rat Shane Davies guided me, my wife and 16-year old daughter on an upper Brazos River fishing trip. My son and I had gone with Shane the previous month and had a blast with both of us logging new personal bests. On this trip with my wife and daughter, the river was still as beautiful as ever, we all caught amazing fish and the women all got new personal bests. When it was all said and done, between the three of us, we caught eight different species of fish on this one trip—Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Buffalo Carp, Striper, Drum, and a big Long Nose Gar. This is the story of that trip…
My wife and I originally planned this trip without our daughter, even though she’d been my fishing buddy when she was younger. These days we don’t fish much, something about her being way too cool to hang out with the likes of me. We didn’t want to force her along, because let’s face it, hanging out with a moody teen for 10 hours has about as much appeal as driving needles under my fingernails. But to our surprise she agreed to come to the Brazos without much fuss. Hints of my younger versioned daughter…
Here is my wife alongside Shane Davies, and she was a little apprehensive at first because she’d never been on a kayak. But Shane starts all his trips with a lesson on kayaking basics: how to get on & off, how to maneuver it, what to do in the shallow rapids, and so on. My wife also had a fear that the kayak would tip over easily, but Shane’s Scrambler XT kayaks are so stable, that after getting in, she quickly got comfortable and was on her own in no time.
It didn’t take long to get on the fish. The first stop was a hole not too far from the put in at the Highway 16 bridge (Palo Pinto County), and my daughter was immediately on a fish. As you can see from her smile, she’s obviously enjoying the fight, and that largemouth bass put up a good one. The best thing was that this wasn’t a video game or interactive TV; this was real life.
My daughter’s first fish of the day, and she didn’t want to hold it. But she’d soon lose her shyness as she kept catching fish after fish. She’d caught about six or seven fish before I caught my first. It looked like it was going to be one of those days where my daughter out fishes me…it’s been a long time since I’d fished with her, and I was loving it.
Although hard to see from this picture, she’s actually holding a smallmouth bass. According to Shane, the smallie fingerlings stocked by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department two years before were starting to get bigger, although they still had a ways to go. But this smallie gave us a heck of an acrobatic show when it jumped out of the water and tail-danced on the water’s surface for about six feet almost colliding with my daughter in the process.
The women definitely out fished me that day, which usually happens when I take them fishing with me, but I did manage a few good fish. Here’s one LMB that I managed to force into submission. By the way, all the fish, with the exception of some nice eating-size catfish, were CPR’d.
No Photoshop here. Just plain old fashioned, hard fighting, bucket mouthed, Brazos River Bass. Her personal best and another awesome memory. One day, hopefully, when she has children, she’ll show them this picture. Very cool stuff.
My wife hooked onto a fish that fought her from the depths for several minutes. We had no idea what she had until it finally broke the surface in exhausted defeat and we saw this ugly Drum at the end of her line. A quick picture snapped, and then right back into the water for this homely critter. As hard as it fought, though, another fish would soon give my wife an even bigger fight, one that would have her screaming.
My wife knew she had something big on the line, but the screaming didn’t begin until after she saw what she’d hooked onto. The Long Nose Gar crashed from the water’s surface and all my wife could see was a snout full of needle-like, razor sharp teeth. In my wife’s mind, this gangly giant was trying to jump into the kayak with her. And each time the gar jumped, she screamed again, even as Shane and I pleaded with her to calm down and keep her rod tip up. But to no avail; each time the monster breached the surface, jumping violently, my wife would scream again, and that’s pretty much how it went until the feisty gar finally wore itself out.
Here’s a short video of Shane releasing the gar…