September 10, 2004
By Linda Love
Check out more photos from this outing in our Photo Gallery!
Bandera and the Medina River at last! We have been looking forward to fishing the Medina River for quiet some time. We had a trip planned for this river two years ago. Coco had checked it out, and we were ready to go, but we had to cancel due to a huge flood. Well, it was worth the wait. The water was cold and crystal clear, and the fish were eager to please. Betty and I arrived at the Bandera Lodge Thursday afternoon. We were only a few feet from the river, and it beckoned us; so we grabbed our rods and reels and off we went. We caught perch, bass, and catfish almost at our backdoor. What a great way to start the trip.
Friday morning, we gave Fred Collins a visit to confirm the kayak rental and portage after which we headed for Medina with plans to circle back and try out some good spots for the wade fishers. We found Moffett Park just on the edge of the town of Medina to be delightful place to wade, and the river was full of fish. We stopped at two other places that we did not feel were very accessible for wade fishing. After a late lunch, it was time to get ready for the Mullet Mixer to be held at Bandera Lodge, and our speaker/river/fishing guide, Kevin Hutchison, and his friend, Jennifer.
Kevin presented a great slide show of the river and demonstrated fly tying for those interested. Kevin and Jennifer made a trip down the Medina River the week before so they could take photos and show us the places to fish and where to be careful as we floated the river. He made several flies that are especially good for the Medina River and had them available for us. He also showed us photos of the Blanco River, San Marcos River, and the Llano River, which are equally beautiful rivers in the hill country. Kevin also guides on these rivers. After the slide show, he presented each member a package of about ten flies for fishing this river (very generous). The food was great, thanks to all.
The kayak fishers met Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. at Fred’s to rent kayaks and portage to the Pleasant Valley crossing for the start of the float trip. Sheila, Mike, Glenna, Frances, Betty, Carlos, Angela, Lavene, Kathy, Karen, and Linda joined Kevin and Jennifer for a five-hour fish and float trip. The river was beautiful, and fish were abundant. Fish were biting on top water flies in the morning and nymphs and Wooly Buggers mid-day and afternoon, along with some top water poppers. There were signs of the previous flood to remind us to respect this river. Most of the river was easily fished, and the rapids were not too bad. We were able to wade as well as float where the current was gentle. We portaged over one fairly large waterfall for safety sake, all but Mike that is. He decided after moving so many boats around it, he would just take a chance and go over it in his kayak. No sweat for him! There was another place where it was especially hard to negotiate a sharp turn. Sheila demonstrated the proper way to flip over and survive with all gear salvaged and intact. Like a good sport, she hopped back on her kayak for the rest of the trip with no fear (well maybe a little). From that experience, the remaining kayakers were assisted by our guide to get around the turn while still on/in the boat. There were a few other difficult spots that provided some excitement, but we managed to get to Tarpley Crossing with only one more ’Äúflip’Äù’ which speaks well for our group since most of us are novice at kayaking a river such as the Medina.
Fishing was great fun with every one catching perch, catfish and small bass. Lavene was the exception on this day as she spotted and coaxed a huge (3–4 lb) large mouth bass to bite her olive Wooly Bugger and the fight was on. Fortunately, Lavene came out the winner. Well the fish won too, as she released it back for the next fisher to catch it. I am told that this fish was so big it bent the rod to the point of nearly breaking. I understand the rod did eventually break but not from the fish (sorry about that Pam). Kevin had promised a bag of flies to the person with the biggest fish, and Lavene won that prize without a doubt. I am sure there will be a photo of this big one that did not get away, as Sheila was there with her trusty camera.
The float trip finally came to an end about 4:30 p.m. We were a tired but happy bunch, ready to meet for dinner at the Mexican food restaurant where we shared fish stories with the wade fishers. I believe you will want to go again if you were lucky enough to experience it this time and if not, you will enjoy it when we go again, I guarantee.