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After six months I was finally able to go fishing again……it was either that or continue on to being completely mentally compromised. Man was not meant to not be able to fish frequently…..like, everyday if possible. Have been rehabbing a worn out shoulder for 3 months….it seems to be working "at least at a minimal level" for now. Left my new home in Boise to go work in Alaska for a few weeks and tried to convince my wife that Austin, Texas was right on the way home from Anchorage. She wasn't buying it (she does teach physics to college students) but I told her it was through another dimension….like the Pisces Dimension….that it was shorter. She granted me permission anyway.

Arrived in Austin and had a day to burn before Shea could take me fishing on the Colorado River so I booked with a guide on Lake Austin…..to take a chance at a double digit largemouth. The day reminded me why I prefer river fishing as it was mostly an exercise in futility. The guide fished in front of me nearly the entire day….that is very aggravating. Still I out caught him 8 bass to 3…..hopefully, that was aggravating for him. Caught all my bass using a weighted fluke….nothing special, here are a couple of the wee beasties….





And, yes…..that bush in the background is where the second bass came out of. I found an excuse to come in early to find my rental car covered with swallow poop as the guide let me park under the bridge (where they nest)….yuck.



Additionally, I had a ticket for not having a park pass….which the guide also neglected to mention I needed. This kid was well meaning but just didn't understand the range of things he should know to be a great guide and he didn't appear to be open to any comments on the subject….may he fish in peace.

SSSSOooooooo, this brought me to first day of real fishing with Shea McClanahan….the consummate professional guide even though he only does it part time. I don't usually hype people but if you really want to have a great experience river bass fishing Shea is the Man. Weather was overcast with temps in the low 80's. In the previous 3 weeks I had made 3 rods specifically for this type of bass fishing (as I seem somewhat addicted to it). My first time building a split grip as well as using micro guides on the 2 spinning rods. The flyrod was specifically designed for bass fishing and came out with rather loud colors….I love it. The first one is a Lamiglas blank with a reel seat designed to be kind on the hands….the wrapped rod weighs a bit less than 3 ounces…..





This second is a line class higher, a St. Croix (my first) and weighed in at 4 ozs….found a very nice decal on the handle at Mudhole….







The eight foot flyrod, using a 290 grain line = to a 10 wt, weighed in a bit over 4 ozs…



The last rod used is one I've loved for years….a rare Sage spinning rod. I was shocked it weighed in at nearly 8 ounces….by the end of the first day I referred to it as "the crowbar" because it was so heavy in the hand after the new rods. Guess I am going to have to rebuild it and lighten it up.



I was trying different braids…..the new spinning rods had 10 lbs PowerPro and Suffix, while the heavier rod had 15 lbs Segaur. Geez, I'm beginning to sound like a fishing show trying to get all my sponsors in…..I hate that. Shea and I hit the river with me using my favorite little crawdad crankbait primarily. Within 5 minutes we were into the Guadies….




It was about this time just into the day fishing when Shea shared with me that the guides he works with had a wager on how many fish I would catch the first day. I made him tell me what the spread on the guesses was…..the low was 30+ and the high was a whopping 62. Now I do tend to be a bit competitive so it was ON! Shea carries a clicker to register each fish so the count is not lost (or padded by me…..hehehe). I found they refer to me as the crankbait "boy wonder" but I guess it would be more appropriate to be the "geezer wonder". Water is shallow, with deep holes, full of weeds and structure and not many wrestle with a crankbait……sissies.

We continued catching fish at a very regular pace and I got my first largemouth (this area is predominately Guadalupe bass)…



The morning ran by pretty fast with many more guadies and a few bucketmouths getting their pics taken…..









As I was catching fish the boys were staying up on the days tally of fish by texting….at lunch break I had 27…..just thought we might make that high end with a good afternoon. When I'd get hit by a fish on my crankbait, Shea would quickly change me rods to a weightless fluke which caught many of those that missed the first time. We ate a nice lunch spread then immediately caught a really nice guadie….



I then went through a spell of missing several fish and it went dead for nearly an hour. As we cruised a nice shaded hole I had a tremendous strike and the fish starting ripping line off upstream…..too powerful for a bass. We moved around with here for several minutes and finally Shea was barely able to fit this monster freshwater drum into the net…..



16 lbs of awfully mad fish…..she was barely hooked but had the darn thing wedged so tight in her mouth we could hardly get it out…



Oh great….now you've seen the secret cranker…..everyone dies……haha. After this the bite really turned on and nearly every fish had a mouth with crawdads hanging in their throats…..pigs….



Then I caught 3 guadies in 2 casts…..don't ever remember getting two fish on the same crankbait on 1 cast…..what rabid little beasts….



A beautifully colored guadie….(WR is only 3.8 lbs_)….

 
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