2014 TEXAS FLYFISHERS
PRISON PERMIT INVITATIONAL
What a time was had by all…it got started with the drive down from Houston being what it is crowded roads, slow traffic, but a good time to call your buds and talk fly fishing. Some of the guys got an early start with Tim and Karen getting there early to check out their boat, gear, and too see where to stay and launch. George and I were somewhere behind Mike Q. and the other guys but we teamed up on the road and I followed him in. We found Tim and Karen at the ice house filling up their beautiful Beavertail skiff. Wow not going to be hard to see that boat coming. Anyways we drove over to Alan’s place and found the guys outside waiting for our Host who I knew was going to be slightly late. No problem, I just started to get my gear organized as did the others so there would be little delay the following morning. Scott B. and I were discussing fly choice with Garland S. and George S. and the consensus was the crab fly. As guys started showing up we all had the pleasure of meeting two of our club’s newest members Colton D. and Jason T. two strapping young men who if played right, we could have them do all the heavy hauling work! You could hear Puck’s excitement…what’s new right… saying he was ready to get out on the water. Doc Joe pulled up with his Shallow Sport and Don H. showed up too with his big bay boat so now the two “heavy’s” were in port ready to do battle. It was beginning to look like a WWII Pacific attack fleet, we had the 2 big heavies surrounded by all of the destroyer escorts (skiffs). Jack K. showed up with his boat and then Alan got there with his. Bill W. arrived and said his boat was ready over at his lodge. After a few adult beverages and small talk it got time for dinner so we formed up and went to Jay’s Chili Shack.
On the way over to Jay’s there was plenty of excitement for some of the TFF crew. One of our “illustrious” leaders (No name’s shall be used to protect the innocent…er guilty party.) actually heading up part of the pack made a few wrong turns leading his group down some poorly marked county road eventually to find his truck knee deep in someone’s front yard. But lets just say with NO turning radius and original stock tires that four wheel drive FORD truck couldn’t pull its own weight our of the quagmire. Don’t let this be construed as a DODGE truck commercial, please. What was funny about the situation was if the driver would have turned right instead of left from the street he would have gone into a large double wide empty driveway that would a facilitated his maneuver. But here was our first opportunity to use our two new young bucks… Jason and Colton jumped out of their truck - threw some straps around the floundering vehicle and pulled it right out! Everything was now cool. There was a group of us at the Chili shack wondering where everybody was …they actually left before us. Well we soon knew. Giggles were had all in good fun.
What is he doing?
Oh I see!
Photo's by Anonymous photographer!
NOW! I will not be negative about our experience at Jay’s that Friday night but to say they were not prepared for us is an understatement. Mike Q. had called them way in advance, booked reservations for around fifteen and gave them our ETA. Good right? NO. We sat down at 7:30 ordered our beverages and dinners by 8:00. The last meal was served to us around 9:45 PM give or take a few minutes. They appeared to run out of some foods and just had one server to help out. But the chili was good and we made the best of it. The joints staff comp’ed some of our drinks and extras so that helped out and they were really apologetic. Heck even checking out took over thirty minutes as their credit card swiper crapped out too! Thanks to TFF for providing our dinner that night …everybody was very appreciable.
But we were here to fish. The guys all left the Chili Shack for their accommodations (BIG THANKS) to Alan’ K. and to Bill W. for graciously allowing our guys to stay at their lodges. Everybody was very comfortable. Bill even got up early and had breakfast and coffee ready for our group when we got up. Thanks Bill! During the night Aaron H. got up and fish Bill's green lights and picked up a few trout and reds! The plan to meet up at the ramp at 8:00 Am went well. Everybody got their boats in the water in good order and it was off to the happy hunting grounds. As I was in Bill W.’s boat with Aaron H. I can only tell you about our experience while on the water but rest assured everybody had a great day!
Bill directed us way down East Matagorda Bay westward to a couple of small reefs surrounded by miles of hard packed sand. As soon as we bailed out of the boats our first reaction was very little wind, water acceptably cold, water clarity was great, but visibility was poor. Overcast conditions prevailed all day with the exception of a one hour period around mid-day when it did clear up for us. Seeing fish was difficult from what I heard from everybody later upon our return, but we all dealt with it. I waded off from the boat and in less than fifteen minutes I spotted my first escaped prisoner. After a good fight I was able to detain and cuff him with no problem. So all is good now… my first salt water fish in over three months! AAAHHHHH! After another thirty minutes or so during a short burst of sunlight I saw a large “cocklebur” (as our good fly fishing buddy Jim Daley calls them) and casted just past the fish. A couple of quick strips and the fish followed the crab fly straight in my direction. I dropped the rod tip and the fish stopped and tipped on the fly as soon as it made the slightest movement I jumped all over him with a high stick trout set! Yeah baby! This was a good fighting fish he made several strong runs making my reel scream and then he did several cool rollover maneuvers to try and dislodge the fly, but all to no avail. I now had two detainees! Soon, a little while later I looked over hearing Aaron’s “fish on” and saw his rod bowed over like he was hooked on an anvil! After a long fight Aaron raised his first catch of the day! You could see Aaron’s big smile from over a hundred yards! Bill had us in the fish but it was so challenging seeing fish due to the grey sky conditions.
The day went on with each us on Bill’s boat getting some shots but only a few more fish came to hand. Aaron and I found this one spot where the fish seemed to be thick all around us. So we just held our position until the sunlight would allow us to see the fish. He hooked several good fish doing this as did I. But landing them was a different story. We broke for lunch back at the boat eating delicious cold fried chicken and gold fish crackers. Throwing the skin and bones into the water produced several large “trout slicks” that drifted off in the direction of the bait chunking community well beyond our reefs. You know those slicks saw some hardware when drifting by those potlickers! HAHAHA
We relocated after lunch a little further southward to another reef I waded off down the sand flat Bill and Aaron waded the reef. The sun was now beginning to cooperate and visibility was getting great. I was able to find another good size sheepshead who was completely oblivious to my approach. The first cast he followed right up to me and then he broke off to my right, my second cast was out in front of him he turned on it and ate. Timing the strike is so critical with these fish. You will never feel the bite, it’s not like a red or a trout for sure. Bill and Aaron were now moving off the reef back towards the boat when I noticed Bills rod flexing hard. Another fish on…the sunlight really was helping. I caught one more but missed a big fish who charged my fly twice. I never saw him pick up the fly…not to say he didn’t I just never got the hook set. That fish was huge and easily bigger than several of my big fish of the day. The wind was very manageable all day with only a brief period of 15 to 20 mph wind gusts. What a wonderful day to be out on the water with the TFF’ers. We collected back at the boat seeing we had an hour long drive back to the ramp. Bill broke out the VHF radio and called for a fish count. Holley smokes Alan reported he had caught eleven (a new TFF record for this event) Puck had caught four, and most of the others had at least one or two fish. They must have had a great spot! But knowing Alan’s skills and local knowledge he was the one to beat anyways. (I later told him the trophy shop already knows how to spell his name correctly!)
The bay was very calm as we linked up with several other TFF boats for the restful ride back. Bill’s Hell’s Bay boat is the bomb...fast and smooth! All went well at the boat ramp…well I’m sure Garland would have something to say about his arrival. Remember Garland, I want a picture of the color of that bruise 'cause I’m thinking of a bull red fly I’ll need for over in Louisiana next year. Hopefully your boat operator comes to our TFF skiff operation classes this coming summer to learn how to take the boat out of gear when approaching a ramp, or not to reverse the boat while his first mate is making that first step towards the dock! Good thing Jack was already off his boat he didn’t even see the collision. The group assembled at the ramp parking lot to enjoy the terra firma, a few cold ones, and some fishing tails. One boat was running a little late so everybody stayed until they were safely home. Then it was on the Alan’s place to reassemble to say our good bye’s. George S. came up to one group of guys and said anybody up for some burgers and beer. Well that led to all of us going to the Crab Shack to carry on our fun and to discuss the day's events. Everybody really appreciated Mike Q’s work putting this outing together! WOW another great TFF Saltwater Outing with good people, lot’s of fun and jokes, and a day on the water fly fishing where we received the heavenly blessings from our Great Maker. GOLDEN <*)))><