For days leading up to the outing, I had
watched the temperatures break record highs and worried about it
being too hot for anyone to want to attend our outing on the South
Llano River. I guess I forgot what an adventurous bunch the TWFF
Kelley and I headed out Thursday to beat
the crowd and get the place ready for our group. Kelley’s philosophy
is do more with more - which meant we packed more! Several members
beat us there. Linda and Howard Love already had their camp set up.
Betty and Buster Burleson were visiting even though they were
staying at some cabins up the river. Cynthia and Steve Nussenblatt
had their new trailer all set up and were walking their dog when we
got there! Coco Davenport was there with her family and trailer.
Morgan Shady is a beautiful place and so
is the South Llano River. It didn’t take long for Kelley, Linda Love
and me to decide to “scout” the river so we could provide guidance
to those wanting to fish and kayak on Saturday. Betty opted out of
the long trip because she was still recovering from wrist surgery.
The three of us loaded up the kayaks, rigged up our fishing gear,
and put in at the state park. The weather took a favorable turn and
provided clouds that gave us some relief from the unrelenting sun.
We got on the river about 12:30 and had a great time. It was
Kelley’s first time to really fly fish and Linda was right there
helping her. It was a pair made in heaven; Kelley is great with
kayaks and Linda is great at fly fishing. It was great fun to watch
Kelley work on her casting and then to finally catch a fish. I’m
sure everyone on the river heard how excited she was. We caught
several fish, but nothing to write home about. Well, there was this
one “fish” I caught, but I didn’t know what it was. I yelled for
Kelley, and she came over and looked at the fish, and she didn’t
know what it was. Then we got the expert to come over and Linda said
that she thought it was a Guadalupe Perch, but that it was some kind
of cichlid. Unfortunately, none of us remembered to bring a camera.
We measured it at 9 inches and let it go.
The river was great. The hardest part we
ran into was navigating our way through a bunch of Texas Tech
freshman campers tubing on the river. Lucky for us they were
friendly and very slow moving. We soon left them far behind. We
ported around the road leading to the Texas Tech campus called flat
rock and finished out trip in about 6 hours.
The next morning, Linda, Betty, and I
made the shorter trip from flat rock to Morgan Shady. This was a
much shorter float, and it was a good thing because there were no
clouds to provide any cover on Friday. The South Llano is a
beautiful river with very little hazards to navigate around. The
fish wasn’t as cooperative Friday morning, but I caught another one
of those fish! Betty got to see this one. It was almost exactly the
same size, but it wanted to fight. Linda must have done some
research after we got back to camp because she told me later that it
was a Rio Grande Cichlid. Sure enough I looked it up on the Texas
Parks and Wildlife website and there was a picture of it. It said
that adult males may develop a pronounced “hump” on the head and
they usually range up to about 6 inches in length. The Texas state
record was caught in the South Llano River in 2001 and weighed 1.59
pounds. Sure wished I had a camera and scale with me!
Friday evening’s Mullet Mixed was great!
Kelley smoked a turkey and a couple of chickens and made a pot of
beans. Everyone brought their specialties. It was a food fight
between us and the flies! I can personally attest to the fact that
sandwich bags filled with water do NOT scare flies away! Neither do
two middle age women flapping their arms and waiving red plastic
plates! Somehow, we managed to enjoy the food despite the fly
attacks. A short business meeting was conducted after supper. Then
everyone visited and got ready for the next day. Howard Love taught
several ladies some knots and he even rigged Kelley’s leader to her
fly line! Of course, this was after he and Linda had to redo my
handy work on both Kelley and Cindy’s reels since I had done
everything backward! Shelia brought her fly tying equipment out and
showed several new members how to tie some flies.
Saturday morning, started about 0830.
Only Julie Sieh and Cynthia Leigh-Nussenblatt decided to make the
long float trip. The rest of the group put in at Morgan Shade and
fished around the immediate area. Gene Smith from the Fredericksburg
Fly Fishers club arrived and gave casting lessons to 5 or 6 of our
beginners. He did a great job and even took the folks out to the
water and helped there as well. Kelley put her recreational degree
to work and taught folks kayaking techniques. Julie and Cynthia made
it in about 10 minutes before the rain storm hit and from all
reports, they had much better luck than anyone. Can’t wait to see
their pictures - they took a camera with them!
We wrapped up the evenings with a dinner
at Isaak’s and we filled their banquet room! The food was great, the
fellowship was super, and I think everyone enjoyed making new
friends and signing up new members. Wished everyone could have been