Sunday, December 4, 2011


Yesterday I had the joy of taking my wife and a friend to take part in an introduction to fly fishing class on the Guadalupe River.

My wife has fly fished some, but after a lesson with an impatient instructor (yours truly), I heeded the wise advice heard in flyshops; hiring a guide is cheaper than hiring a divorce attorney.

Chris Jackson, owner of Action Angler conducted an inexpensive class for fly fishing beginners near the third crossing of the Guad. The great advantage here is that not only would students get hands on instruction, they would also have the opportunity to put the lessons to immediate use in the trophy trout section of one of the nation's top 100 trout streams. Proceeds form the class go to help stock the river. It's a great win-win.

The weather was spectacular, as long as you like cool and wet. Being that we are in an extreme drought, I was relishing the light rain that began falling Friday morning, and continued throughout Saturday. It was the gentle soaking rain we needed so greatly. So while it was a little uncomfortable for the ladies, rain gear and waders made it bearable.

I knew this was an important day for the girls, so I had to make sure to start them right, with coffee and kolaches from Sweeties Donuts in Sattler, TX. If you don't start at Sweeties, you simply won't catch fish.

Soon we received our orders and were back on the road again. This was our friend Abbie's first time on River Road, and she was in awe of the scenery.

After only a few minutes we arrived at the entrance to Action Angler, shrouded in light rain and fog.

Several students had already arrived and parking was filling up fast. The ladies quickly went in to sign in, don waders, and join the other participants anxiously milling about on the porch.

As the lessons began, I snapped a couple of pictures, then turned the camera over to my wife and made myself scarce. I wanted the ladies to enjoy their lesson without feeling any pressure from me. Plus it gave me a couple of hours to fish for the first time this trout season on the Guad.

I drove to a nearby lease access point that is available to members of Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited's lease access program and began to fish upstream.

The water levels are very low, and I bumped several large rainbows in less than eight inches of water.The fish were in slots worn in the limestone riverbed. Normally the fish are in much deeper water for protection from avian predators. I assume they felt less exposed with the heavily overcast skies, but I was still quite surprised they were there. I am pretty familiar with this stretch of the river and have never seen large trout in those shallow slots.

I began to pick up fish in some of the faster water once I switched from a soft hackle
 to a zebra midge.

As is normally true, the hours on the river pass much more quickly than the hours in the office, and soon it was time to re-join the ladies. True to form, the guides continued to coach and offer encouragement to all the students a full hour past their committed time.

 Here we are at the conclusion of the lesson, wet, happy and hungry. So, what to do but introduce them to another Guadalupe trout fishing tradition...Real Pit BBQ, for a chopped beef sandwich.

I was hungry, so I was driving a little fast when Abbie said..."slow down, I can't get enough of how beautiful it is here".

...I think we may have a couple of converts.


die Fische said...

Nice entry. You're right, Sweetie's is an absolute must.

owl said...

What an awesome article! Thanks for sharing this day with everyone!

Mark said...

Thanks for commenting guys!

Steve Z said...

Lucky man. With luck you'll never again get "the look" when you suggest that you need to go fly fishing.

e.m.b. said...

Because I do, in fact, agree that there is "no clear line between religion and fly fishing", 'converts' seems quite apt. What a wonderful post (and blog!). Very much enjoyed it!