May 30, 2008
By Rozlynn Orr
Check out more photos from this outing in our Photo Gallery!
TWFF has boldly explored and established a new and exciting venue for our outings, PURTIS CREEK STATE PARK! This was our first trip as a group into new and foreign lands, East Texas, and we were pleasantly surprised. This place may very well be on one of those ‘best kept secret lists’. This is a little 355-acre lake within in 1,582-acre state park with only 59 camping sites. Small and sweet! Barbara and Rick Booth may very well still be gazing at their private cove from their campsite! Did anybody see them leave?
We met Friday evening for our Mullet Mixer at Inn on the Hill in Athens, Texas. Kathy Goodlett, co-host, showed up with foam flies from Bass Pro for our goodie bags. Our guest speaker was Sean Polk, Fishing Manager of Orvis, Dallas. Sean’s presentation was “Bass on the Fly,” covering such topics as equipment, flies, tactics and catching and releasing these overgrown sunfish (believe it or not, bass are from the sunfish family). Sean’s presentation was a wealth of knowledge for us and his article is included in the newsletter. We typically fish for river bass, which are much smaller than lake bass. Purtis Creek is known as a catch and release lake for double-digit bass or those weighing over 10 pounds. Techniques and tactics for catching these fish are a little different from their lean river cousins. Sean also gave us fish catching, Clouser minnows and discount purchase coupons from Orvis, Dallas. Attendees may call Sean at 214.265.1600 and he will take care of your order and shipment.
We had about 24 attendees at the event including new member Diana Kunde and her husband Jim. We also had a couple of members from the Dallas area attend their first event with us, Peggy Austin and Debbie Price. Another of our newer members, Debbie Williams brought her husband Wesley along to fish. We also want to thank Wesley, Steve Nussenblatt and Greg Neubauer for letting us use their boy muscles and helping us load those kayaks! Betty Burleson thinks her kayak weighs 65-pounds but she may be surprised to hear that kayak poundage is measured by the weight of the plastic resin beads used to make the shell of the kayak. For the actual weight, you have to add in the weight of the hatches, trim, rudder, rope and hardware. Who knows what these things really weigh!!!
Fishing began Saturday morning at 7:30 with many members heading out in kayaks and canoes while some stayed ashore for bank fishing. Mary Rohrer assisted Debbie Price and Peggy Austin with rigging on their new reels. Winds were somewhat brisk on shore and made bank fishing a bit challenging. We broke at 11:30 for lunch at the camp site of myself and Frances Estes and then made our way to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, TX where we were led on a behind the scenes tour of the hatchery by manager, Terry Bedford. The hatchery works on promoting the Texas Share-A-Lunker program. Terry showed us laboratories for DNA screening and refrigeration units for fish and specimen storage. Someone remarked that this place looks like a Fish CSI lab! The highlight was the tanks used for breeding the trophy bass, complete with water ozone purification, natural light and faux grass painted on the walls of their tanks. The only thing missing were mini iPods for some sexy fishy music. (That will probably be a tax bill in the future for all of us to share). Unfortunately, we were not there at breeding time so there were no sows on their nests. The fertilization process is very detailed and scientific. We also went on a tram ride to view rearing pens for the fry. Several members took the walking tour of the wetlands exhibit.
Our outing scheduled changed plans this time as we decided to eat an early dinner to allow us to get back to the park for some evening fishing. We ate a BBQ buffet with great ribs but not particularly great for those trying to squeeze back into kayaks. Mary Rohrer led a short 30-minute business meeting and we were off to fish again about 6:00 p.m. The winds had ceased and the lake was beautiful. It was serene and quiet and a family of raccoons played on the bank in front of Diana and Jim Kunde’s canoe. Sheila Anderson went back in search of her lunker that had slipped off her line earlier that morning. Many good size bass were caught and Mary Kain and Frances Estes pulled in some plate sized longear sunfish. Greg Neubauer came up with 3 nice bass and several getaways. We fished until 9:00 p.m. or so and went back to camp headquarters for a raffle. Sean generously gave us a Cliff’s Bugger Barn fly box loaded with big bass flies. We raised about $77.00 from the raffle and the winner was Jan Bates. Jan, being an Orvis, Dallas seasonal employee, felt like she shouldn’t be the winner. We talked her into keeping the fly box. We may have converted trout fishing Jan into a bass fisher as well. We then re-drew for the flies and Frances Estes was the winner of the flies and she shared her winnings with other members. We have good, kind and sharing members within our group and they make it more fun for all of us! Thank you Jan and Frances.
About 9 of us fished Sunday morning with a few more fish being caught. Prime fishing time did seem to be Saturday evening. As all good things must come to an end, it was only appropriate that we passed Mary K. and Jack Janco on our way out of the camp at the dump station ‘off loading’ from their new gigantic RV!
As for me, I will be back. I hooked a fish on my 6 wt. that doubled my rod over and pulled it alongside my kayak only to spit the hook at the end. (I will reread the section in Sean’s presentation on hook setting). I have never felt anything like this on my 6 wt. I will have to return to hunt this fish or it’s cousin! Thanks to all who were able to attend and take part in this little slice of heaven fishing hole!