Harvey-Cleary Goes Large — April 4, 2008

The old spinster, Ma Nature, decided to turn a cool, temperamental shoulder our way Saturday morning.  Luckily, her cool breezy attitude gave way to a warm and sunny countenance that awarded us a beautiful, fish filled afternoon—she even gave us the opportunity to do some of the best sight fishing of the early season.  Looks like it is going to be another great year and even looks like the two year turn around on the trout population will be vindicated earlier than anticipated.  Dad and I are happy to note we are catching a few more mid sized trout than we have in recent years—and in the lusty words of that icy jailbird, Martha Stewart, “That’s a good thing.”

We made some new friends this weekend hosting Harvey-Cleary Builders of Austin.  They joined us for their annual fishing trip and were rewarded with what started as a raw, early spring day turned bluebird sky and light winds afternoon—not to mention limits of trout and close to limits of reds sprinkled across ten boats.  After a morning filled with a few groggy heads, these guys ground the water and caught some great fish.   

The groggy heads were remnants from the night before.  To the whistles of a wailing thirty-mile an hour wind, a few of the more talented builders serenaded the lodge with some great blues covers and originals.  The man with the big belly and matching voiced wailed away while the rest of the group listened in awe.  He was the talk of the day on my boat and clearly impressed everyone within earshot.  Dad even got in and bragged what a great show the guy provided.  Sad part, I wish I remembered his name—sorry bro, I don’t think we were properly introduced.

Now on to the fishing.  My crew, alternating between deep-water trout fishing and skinny water fly-fishing, found our reds on the sugar sands nearest deep-water escape.  The erratic barometer still has all species shallow shy and hanging near deep-water escapes.  The reds up shallow were aggressive and taking small flies—crazy Charlie’s, tiny poppers, and un-weighted clousers or seaducers.  The trout we found still preferred light colored soft plastic worked on the bottom, or top waters worked slowly.  Interesting to note on trout aggressiveness—never seen this before—a client and myself hooked the same fish three times on three straight casts…we both fought the fish a lost.  We encountered her right after I popped a decent 24 on a green and white Catch 2000.  I can comfortably say she was in the upper twenties to low thirties after seeing her come out the water on three hook-ups at least a half a dozen times.  There is always next year.

Dad, Steve, John, Ted, Mitch and Ray found most of their fish in four to six feet of water working Maulers over light colored soft plastics.  They worked deep structure and found the fish stacked pretty tight.  The reds were hanging somewhat off the schooled trout but once the reds started hitting, hold on the trout were to follow.  Mitch again found his fish hanging in shallow water, like we did, next to deep water escape. 

It’s Spring now.  Fish will hold in transition for the remainder of April into mid-May and as always during this period check the barometer and read the winds.  Thirty to Thirty-Five MPH will not be uncommon but the fish are used to it and will still be feeding.  Be smart, read their road signs, and don’t be afraid to try different tactics and approaches.  Sometimes the unexpected pattern pays of in the end.  Offshore soon…let the winds abate.  My good friend Stan is home…expect a few more IGFA and Texas Fly Rod records to start falling.