« on: April 14, 2015, 10:08:15 AM »
Devil’s River 2015
Met up and left Katy at 1300, after transloading all of our gear. We had a new guy join the group this year, our VP, John Purcell.
We arrived at the new camp in the dark following country style directions “Go across the third cattle grate.” This year we didn’t stay at the “Who Cares, B&B” but instead stayed at a site much closer to the launch location.
As we unloaded our night gear and started telling. “remember when….”, and “what if…” stories”, We drank some wine and a little whisky around the campfire as we unwound from the long road trip.
The stars were bright as we set up sleeping bags on the cots that were already set up in a tent with a heater. We turned the heater off to sleep, figuring that we would be warm enough in the sleeping bags to not need it any more. It turns out that was an error. Puck was up at 0430 and saw that frost had covered everything and turned the heater back on.
The hearty hunter’s breakfast didn’t happen. Eggs, hashbrowns, etc, didn’t survive the unseasoned pan, or the new camp cook. Yoghurt, fruit, and granola filled the bill, and away we went.
I hope one of us took a picture of the rugged road to the launch. This is rough terrain, and sometimes an extremely rough road. Actually giving it the name “road” is being generous.
As the guide crew loaded gear into rafts, George was in the water, slinging line, before the rafts were even off the shore.
Gear was checked off as it was placed into the rafts. One oversized bag had to be trimmed. 25L was supposed to be the largest size we take with us. I expect the packing list to be revisited again before next year.
Finally on the water, slinging line, as we made our way to the first obstacle, Dolan’s Falls. As the guide crew started unloading the gear for the portage, 6 kayaks showed up at Dolan’s Falls at the same time we did.
To give us more fishing time, less time at the falls, the anglers pitched in to get the gear moved around and place back into the rafts. By working carefully, everybody, all 13 of both parties, made it down with no incidents.
Fishing the first day was slow, but the scenery more than made up for it.
Travis landed a gar. The fight can be described… I probably should let Travis tell this story. Gar over paddle, not trying to lip it, etc….
A smallmouth bass attacked the raft, like jaws from the deep. Again Travis is the guy for this one..
John had a really nice smallmouth on for almost 8 seconds. He spent another 30+ minutes casting to it. The guides kept pointing her out, but she developed a bad case of lockjaw.
We could see the fish, but very few would open their mouths to eat. Even the longear sunfish that were so voracious last year were slow to bite.
Camp the first night was set up by the time we got there, and the gear was unloaded. Bratwurst was served for dinner, with wine and whisky. We woke a little later than expected and had chrizo for breakfast.
The fly of choice for the second morning was poppers. We had a few takes, but again the bites were slow.
This is the day that the wind decided to change direction, and speed. The guides worked all day against the headwind. If they stopped for a moment, the rafts were blown back up river. I can only imagine how the kayakers ahead of us were fairing.
Camp the second night was a little later getting set up. The wind had slowed us all down, to include the cargo raft. We had steak, corn, and potatoes, for dinner. Almost nothing is more entertaining that watching Ryan try to get the potatoes out of the coals with his bare hands. Coffee was served with pancakes, bacon, eggs, for breakfast.
Did you know that if you use dry ice, and leave your vegetables unwrapped, that they will absorb the flavor of the CO2? Carbonated avocadoes and tomatoes make for an interesting side dish.
The wind died down on the last day, but the fish still were not biting.
We were off the water at 1400. The raft were loaded onto the van, and the trailer, only to listen to one of the trailer tires hiss at us as it went flat.
Back to Katy at 2330, to transload, and send folks home.
Already we are talking about next year.
I need to put some pictures into this write-up, and get some other viewpoints.