Weekend report — Brazos River

BRAZOS1Good days usually start early. And this one did.

LSON Intern John Keith met me at my house at 5:30 a.m., and by 5:45 the kayaks had been loaded, lunches and cool boxes were packed and we were headed south out of Dallas toward the Brazos River below the Lake Whitney Dam.

We arrived at Dick’s Place on Farm to Market 2114 to drop off a vehicle and head upstream to Riverside Park. Dick’s runs a shuttle service or lets anglers pull their boats out at the canoe outpost for a small fee.

John and I were on the river by 7:45, and we paddled hard for two miles downstream to find the better fishing spots and get away from other kayakers near the park.

The day was going to be hot, but the morning had perfect temperatures with light winds.

We fished several holes on the upper stretches of this run using ultralight tackle. I was switching between a small spinner bait and a pumpkinseed curly-tailed plastic. John was flipping a top-water, along with a blue lizard into cover and a Rooster tail around rocks.

John and I both got on the board quickly with two nice bass. John’s was bigger — maybe 3 pounds. He also found a large school of gar that would bite the lizard, but were smart enough not to get hooked.

We paddled between holes, sometimes picking up a fish and sometimes not. The water stayed cool, despite rising temperatures. The rock formations along the bank made overhangs in several places, and we picked up several fish near these ledges.

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BRAZOS3One hole we came to had a fast current through a deep section with lots of sunken timber. John caught a white bass and a bluegill in this hole and I caught several varieties of sunfish and a small largemouth.  At the next stopping point, fast water racing by a blow down of logs held the promise of action, and I wasn’t disappointed when a smallmouth bass at the pumpkinseed worm. The variety of fish species we caught today was fantastic, and we had our best luck between 10 a.m. and noon.

We kept moving like this throughout the afternoon. Speaking with local anglers, they said the best fishing along this stretch was about a mile from the FM 2114 bridge.

The river was very shallow in some spots, but we only had to portage the kayaks a few times for less than 50 yards. The dam releases water some afternoons, raising the river by up to three feet, but there is no set schedule, so kayakers can’t depend on this. Locals said the fishing turns off when the water is running, so it is a mixed bag for anglers.

As we neared Dick’s, I drifted over a small hole in the vegetation mid-river. In the middle of the hole, a nice-sized largemouth was slowly drifting in 2 feet of water. Quickly casting my ultralight over my shoulder back upriver, the worm was gobbled by the bass as it passed over the hole. I fought the fish backwards, as my kayak wasn’t slowing down and I had no way to grab the paddle. My best bass of the day! We pulled our kayaks from the river at 3 p.m. It had been a great 8-mile paddle, with plenty of fish to keep it interesting.

We returned to Dallas tired and happy.

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