Sunday, July 13, 2014

Guiding Monty and His Nephew

I had the pleasure of guiding Monty Calageros and his 17-year old nephew Michael yesterday. We left the dock before sunrise and headed for a lagoon that has been fishing well, but is completely off limits to most skiffs. Indeed, as I passed three flyfishing guides in a row, I realized that only one of them, who has a Stilt, could possibly  be headed to where I planned to fish. Arriving, I took a deep breath knowing that I'd never entered the area at such a low tide. Still, I had confidence in the Stilt. We skated across a thee-inch deep bar that separates the fishable water from the rest of the world and shut down when I thought the boat would float. It barely did. Looking behind me, I could see that an airboat had parked at the entrance to the lagoon. I hoped that he would not come in, because I knew that half the fish would leave the shallow lagoon for deeper water, given the vulnerability of feeding in 6-8 inches of water. For some reason, the airboat captain chose to move on, so we had the square mile lagoon to ourselves for the next three hours. And wow, what a dream venue! We immediate spotted large tailing reds, and small pods of big fish against a grass line, and proceeded to pole further and further into the lagoon.  Before we left the area, the guys had landed several above-average reds fishing from the bow of the Stilt, and each caught a red over 27 inches long. We also saw several trophy trout, but those fish eluded us, as usual. I will return there soon, alone.

We then went to the sand, and ran north looking for fish. I'd been finding them several miles north of the mouth of the Arroyo for the past few weeks, and expected to find them again. Planing far to the east of where I expected to see them, I turned and planed slowly to the northwest, looking for the signs of the leading edge of the biomass of mullet, ladyfish, redfish and trout. We flushed a couple of reds, so I shut down and poled downwind for a couple of hundred yards. At one point, we seemed to pass over an imaginary north-south line, and began seeing reds. So I staked the boat, assuming that the fish were downwind, and moving toward us. Sure enough, as soon as we began wading, the guys started to see fish. I waded alongside Michael, and was able to help him get his eyes adjusted to the venue. Soon, he was seeing fish 50 yards away, and was able to use his excellent cast to hook and land four reds in a short while. Monty, for his part, caught a couple while wading alongside us. We headed in soon afterward, and celebrated a great day of fishing. I expect I'll see more of Monty in the near future. He's a world-class shooter, high-end firearms expert, and was instrumental in setting up Sportsman's Finest in Austin. But beyond all of that, he appreciates a world-class fly fishery, such as the Lower Laguna.

No comments: