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Yesterday I fished the hours either side of sunrise and wound up with only two fish. I gave up and went to Prince Solms park. Me and the boy went through the Tube Chute repeatedly, sometimes with tubes and sometimes without.

This morning I was back on the river at 5:30AM. I filled a 32oz Yeti with black coffee and dragged the yak down the slope to an easy launch spot. After yesterday’s disaster, I thought I’d better change senko color. I paddled the yak across to a bulkhead along shallow river rock. I made a couple casts to the bulkhead while slowly drifting downstream. The morning was still, calm wind and the only sound was music from the morning songbirds. A couple of planets were visible through the cypress canopy. Sunfish were busting jesus bugs. Deer grazed the manicured lawns along the banks.

I steered my kayak to the middle, turned into the current and bombed the senko between the overhanging branches as far as I could up-river. The senko drifted back a couple feet and was struck. I r’ared back getting a good bend in the rod. The fish ran towards me and I reeled quickly and once more bent the rod. From the porchlight of a waterfront house, I saw a good fish jump clean out of the river and shake its head. Tension left the rod and slack line fell to the water. Is this going to be like yesterday?

I was actually quite happy to get a strike early on, so I set about fishing my spots. I caught a Guad from an outside bend. I paddled up-river to Garden Street bridge and got a nice meanmouth from some undercut rock along a current-swept steep bank. I drifted back down as a fly-fisherman paddled up-river. A couple of morning bathers swam past me. The sky was light, but the river quiet, the calm before the weekend onslaught.

The catch frequency improved as I closed in on the Last Toober Exit. This spot was loaded with largemouth. I methodically worked over the Last Toober Exit from shore-to-shore, milking every bite out of the nooks and crannies. The fly-fisherman came back down and asked if I’d found them. I said yeah they’re all right here. He told me he was off to fish new water in the Guadalupe and I wished him luck.

I let the fly-fisherman get a head start and then I followed him down to the confluence with the Guadelupe. Waterbirds kept a solemn watch. Woodpeckers hammered on cypress branches. Muscovy ducks made noisy low level passes overhead. Invasive Egyptian geese honked from back yards. Cardinals streaked though river-side tree branches. Hummingbirds flitted among towering trunks searching for huisache nectar.

At the confluence was a turtle-infested weedline composed of loose fanwort, water-willow and eelgrass leaves. I cast at it and was rewarded with a bumpity-bump strike. I reeled in another nice largemouth. I moved around the corner into the Guadalupe and caught several small LMB’s and a sunfish from the base of a giant cypress. I was having a great morning.

My yeti was empty and my stomach was growling. I paddled upstream and got a couple more largemouth from the Last Toober Exit. I arrived back to my launch spot. I thought back to the fish I’d lost earlier. I steered my kayak to the middle, turned into the current and bombed the senko between the overhanging branches as far as I could up-river. The senko drifted back as I retrieved semi-slack line. The senko was pulled down and I r’ared back. The morning’s first tubers were floating down and I commenced to showing out. I was hollerin’ and swinging the rod with elbows out. I saw the fish boatside and almost couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a giant Guadalupe Bass. I lipped the State Fish of Texas and whooped. I told myself this was the fish I’d lost earlier. Satisfied, I made a couple of maneuvering paddlestrokes to the take-out spot. Off at 9:30AM.
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