Every Texas angler has a favorite place to fish, be it a small pond on a buddy’s land, a favorite home lake or a nearby creek. For North Texas angler Brady Sullivan, that place is the Devils River in Val Verde county where he combined his passion for fishing with his love of kayaking years ago. The river is one of the least paddled in Texas, but arguably the most beautiful river in Texas.
Brady had been looking forward to a return trip all winter long and come March, the trip was starting to take shape. The Devils River, known for its rugged beauty, remoteness and trophy smallmouth, would host Brady and his three companions on a 4-day paddle from the Hwy 163 crossing at the river (known as Baker’s Crossing) to a private take out at Blue Sage 25 miles down river. This is the report of that trip as told by Brady Sullivan…
My deer lease is 45 miles north of Bakers Crossing and a few years ago I started taking a yak to the Devils River during spring turkey season and early deer season. It’s during those days that my passion for the Devils began.
March 22nd found us on the water and headed down stream in near 80 degree temperatures. The largemouth bass could be found on their spawning beds in 3-4 foot of water in grass flats and under the protection of overhanging limbs. Standing in my Jackson Kayak Coosa made it much easier to find the bedded bass in the clear water.
This trip included myself, Dr. Clayton Vandergriff from Dallas, Ross Cox and Jake Quine from Midland. Clayton and I have done the Devils together before but this would be the first Devils overnight trip for the two Pecos River veterans, Jake and Ross. Left to right is Ross Cox, Jake Quine, Clayton Vandergriff and Brady Sullivan at Dolan Falls on the Devils River.
As you make your way down from Bakers Crossing, the water transitions from near Guadalupe River looking water with visibility near 4 feet, to the more well known ultra clear water of the lower Devils where you can see down 20 feet deep.
The best fishing day we had of all was on day three where we caught 2 citation sized smallmouth of 20”, the heaviest one being 4 lbs 1 oz. It was on this day, below Three Tier Falls where I saw two near 10 lb stripers cruising together as if they owned the river. Unfortunately, I was not able to draw a strike from either of them.
With my Jackson Kayak Coosa, I can fit tons of gear into the hull so camping is made easy because you can take what you want and not be limited by space. I like to eat good while on the water and leave the MRE’s to someone else to grub on. I always take a tent to fend off bugs and the morning dew, which can make your sleeping bag seem like a wet sock. I take a grill grate and build fires where possible, I also take a gas burner to boil things and to cook on while in the SNA.
The 6 hour drive to the Devils from Wichita Falls doesn’t bother me, and I go down there to do a couple of floats each year. I’ve thought about going up into Arkansas to float some rivers and chase smallmouth but I think twice; I can go to the Devils and have great fishing, scenery, and keep my money in Texas.