January 26, 2001
By Sherri Ray
Check out more photos from this outing in our Photo Gallery!
The weekend of January 26, 27, and 28 was in my minds “daily planner” since November. Reservations for accommodations were in place. To add to the anticipation a new friend from my new hometown was to attend the Texas Women’s Fly Fishing (TWFF) outing at Canyon Lake with me. This outing was different from most outings my husband and I have ever taken. We would be fishing for trout in Texas. Thanks to the efforts of many different agencies and organizations the waters of the Guadalupe were stocked with trout not native to Texas waters. To begin with I have never “soloed” fly fishing. Now I would be taking someone else who had never fly fished at all. The anxiety and expectations for the weekend were high.
Judy Otto and I arrived Friday evening for the meeting at the Maricopa Resort to find out the plans of the group for the weekend. We had already been to Gruene, and the people at Gruene Outfitters had told us we would probably not be able to get into the water because of the dangerous flow of the river. The weather people had warned that there was a 40% chance for rain on Saturday and thunderstorms expected for Sunday. Constance Whiston (now our president) began lessons on how to fish for trout. Among the things learned were how to tie knots and about tandem flies and most of all the unexpected water conditions. Not to be defeated the women all decided to meet at the Round Up Café no later than 8:30 the next morning to sum up the weather and make some plans.
We planned to meet the rest of the group at breakfast but I was undaunted and couldn’t wait to get on the water. This was exciting. We rose at 5:00 AM so we could fish at daybreak. We turned the lights on and at that very moment a heavy rain started to fall. Now I’m defeated. We go back to bed and set our sights for better weather at the group meeting at the café. After breakfast and many introductions and conversations with new friends we all head for Camp Beans. We are able to have access to the river thanks to Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited leasing program.
As we drive up you should have seen the sight. I personally have never seen so many women in waders in my life. Everybody is bustling around getting their rods ready and nervously summing up the river. One of my greatest surprises was to find that there were women here who had never fly fished in their lives. They came with full expectations of learning what they needed and using it once it had been attained. What guts! What a testimony to the grit of these Texas women. This was not a group who ran at the first raindrop or high water. Like trees planted by the water…
Up on the hill several women are learning to cast from Constance. They were fast learners, too. Constance was surrounded by inquisitive and hopeful fisherwomen. “What is slip shot?” could be heard over the din. You could barely hear Constance’s quiet but firm reply. The thing about Constance is she can boost anyone’s confidence twofold by the poise and energy she exudes. She accomplishes it with a big smile and the grace that has long been a tradition of southern women. Everyone finally runs out of questions. The experienced are already fishing and some groups have headed out for other promising waters. Those are the “big boys,” the kind that this new group all hopes to be one day. The first step in that process must be GO FISHING! Everybody starts to fish. At the onset everyone clumped up, strength in numbers. As the day wears on people start to take to fly fishing like a kid with her first bike. Everyone starts venturing out to test waters and to expand their personal skills. Some of these women never dreamed they would be experiencing these things on their very first trip.
After the days events the group met back at the Maricopa for a scrumptious Dutch oven dinner and to share stories of the day. We all were becoming more familiar with the faces and were less hesitant to ask names. My buddy Judy took the initiative to bring name tags for everyone. What a gal! We only heard of one person catching a fish that day. Some might think that the weekend was a bust. A fishing trip with no fish. I’m willing to bet there is not one woman in this group that thinks that. After all look at the all the fun we had. How many women have you ever heard say that torrential rains and flooding waters are fun?
The fishing experience along with renewed friendships and new acquaintances shared in this beautiful part of God’s country are almost spiritual. I know everyone must have felt optimistic because after the conditions of Saturday everyone was back out fishing on Sunday. I drove all the way down river road and members of TWFF could be seen mixed in with other fishermen everywhere.
This is the way our trip went on a bad weather weekend in the month of January in one of the coldest rivers in Texas. Just imagine the good times to look forward to for the TWFF.