July 21, 2006
By Glenna Noret
Check out more photos from this outing in our Photo Gallery!
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 are!
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 there!