19 people made the trip. Only one person didn’t feel up to making the float, and we hope she feels better soon. This left 18 members on kayaks floating, and fishing the chosen stretch of river.
Everybody on the water by 0800
3 broken rods
2 first aid
2 slip and trips
One lost, and then recovered spinning rod
One broken paddle
One accidentally inflated life jacket
Hundreds of fish caught. Largemouth Bass, Guadalupe Bass, bluegill, Rio Grande Perch, and catfish were all brought to hand. Ken hooked a carp, and one person lined, and somebody almost hooked, a gar.
Off the water by 2015, but if you want to know more….
Lodging: South Llano River RV Park & Resort is where we stayed. We started arriving around 1400. Once we got there we found that we had nowhere near enough beds. In addition to what was already in the cabin there were 3 mattresses thrown on the floor, one cot, and one air mattress which later sprung a leak. Bring only cots next year, no more air mattresses
Friday dinner: Hot dogs and hamburgers was the menu, and Rene D. manned both of the grills with occasional help from others. When it came time to serve, help came out from everywhere and starving people were fed as goodies magically appeared. Desserts, chips, cheese, crackers, fruit, hummus, wine, and much more were all on the serving table that the Delattes brought. Plans for the next day were asked, and answered, as we sat down to the shared meal. Cleanup was a joint effort with many pitching in. (pictures of dinner here)
Saturday breakfast: Steve was our chef of the day, starting the griddle at 0430 or so, feeding our hord. Orange Juice, Sausage/ham and egg sandwiches, Mini pastries, and Greek Yogurt were handed out as soon as prepared, filling the stomachs of the soon to be paddlers. (Pictures here)
Shuttle service: After making contact with the portage provider, Paddler’s Porch, we found that they could only support 10 watercraft at a time. This meant 2 trip for them. Another challenge was that they had a large group of canoes headed out at 0900, so we needed to be completely clear before then. 0500 was suggested for a pick-up time, but we compromised for a 0600 pick-up, which we thought would still allow both of our groups to be on the water before they had to worry about the canoeists.
The shuttle service did not show up at 0600, and a phone call yielded a surprise. She heard 0630, but still wasn’t on location until almost 0700, with the rented 4 kayaks already on board. As we loaded the remaining 6 kayaks, I asked as to when the next load could be expecting a pickup, thinking it would be around 0800, only to get another surprise as we were told 1000 or so. Going with that would not have allowed an in the second group to wet a line, as they would be required to paddle hard all day just to get off the water by dark. Backup plan was formed, and a quick shuffle, using another trailer, and another truck had us up the road and on the water by 0800, only a little later than our original plan of 0700.
Side note: The canoe group didn’t even load up until 1000 because of the storm.
As we were unloading, a light mist started falling. It was not heavy enough to don the raingear, but later was another story. About an hour into the float, thunder in the distance caused some alarm. After all, here we are, in the water with lightning rods in our hands. It came down hard as we huddled next to the shore. Even though rain gear was on the packing list, some folks didn’t bring it. The secondary use of rain gear is to keep the wind off of wet clothes and skin. Those that didn’t don the gear were chilled and uncomfortable for hours afterward, only by wearing their life jackets were they able to keep body heat captured.
Topwaters brought most of the fish to hand, with one angler (Ken) sticking to a streamer and still landing decent fish. S1Bs, spiders, etc. all worked well.
One man couldn’t catch fish unless he was talking, and no, it wasn’t me.
Some of the fast water was challenging for the newer members, but as the day progressed, so did their confidence, and skills. By using the radios and staying generally as a group at the faster waters, we were able to guide, and coach the new members.
We thought that the distance to the take-out was a shade over 8 miles, but when the day was done the traveled distance was 10.4 miles, and considering that we were fishing our rate should have been about 1 mph. We covered the first mile in a little over 2 hours, not leaving us any time to fish at the end of the day.
The most difficult parts of this trip, in my opinion, was the forced portages. There was one close to Burt Ranch Road, where we stopped to have lunch, and another at South Llano River State Park, where the path under the road is now completely blocked off with huge rocks placed into the downstream side.
And here are just some of the pictures taken: