Salt Please

gheenoe on flats

Gheenoe’s are made for the salt unfortunately I don’t know if the same can be said for me.  For an inlander I’ve spent my share of time paddling a kayak around the flats of the Texas coast.  I learn a little more each time I go but I’ve still got a long way to go.  Now throw in boat with a outboard and the things start to get complicated.  Theres a lot of shallow water and a lot of buoys.  It didn’t take me long to figure out buoys mean one of two things.  Either this is where you want to be or stay the hell away from here.  The only problem is I don’t know one from the other. 

cowboy wok

With all the rain the water was up and so was the mosquito population.  Heres a tip.  Never camp out in a tent on the Texas coast.  I think if there was snow on the ground you’d still need deet infused bug spray.  Even though the camp site was swarming once on the water it was great.  The only problem was that the water was so high you couldn’t see any fish.  We hit the usual spots with little success.  Then after the morning bite (or lack of) while putting the boat on the trailer we had a conversation with one of the locals.  He recommended fishing the lights around the houses in the waterfront neighborhood.  The key he said was to not even bother launching the boat until mid-night.

speckled trout

Clousers under the lights seemed to be the ticket.  Each night we caught dozens of trout and reds up to twenty inches.  We had a few shots at some real hogs but i think they were focused on trout and not our #4 flies.  The funny thing was every night we went out (not before mid-night) we’d see fisherman coming in calling it quits.  When asked how they did not one had more than 2 or 3 fish.  I guess it does take a while to get the food chain rolling.  Another lesson learned.


I thought “Jumping Tarpon” was a term that basically meant going out and catching tarpon.  While in Belize it was explained to me that “Jumping Tarpon” is a type of fishing where you use light weight hooks and after you hook a tarpon and it goes on a nice run or two and gives you a short aerial show you tighten the drag and straighten out your hook.  This gives you your adrenalin rush with out the wear and tear of an hour long fight.  I really didn’t get it probably because I’ve never landed a Tarpon.  I’ve never seen such a big smile from someone that just lost a fish.




I love cruising in my Gheenoe. Especially when it’s river cruising. Very seldom will you run into jet skiers (the scourge of the water) or wake boarders.  Seems like it’s mostly guys like me in low end boats that grew up around the water and just enjoy being in places fish hang out.  This was one of those chamber of commerce days and I had intentions of catching a few fish.



carp on the fly



I found a shallow water ramp and even though I’ve fished this river dozens of times I’d always waded the upper part. So I had a little recon to do.  What looked like sweet water from the ramp turned out to be deep and muddy which aren’t ideal conditions for sight casting to fish.  I cranked up the out board and found a back water slew that had plenty of flats that were loaded with fish.  My secret to catching carp on a fly is to have lots of shots at lots of carp.  This was the secret to my success on this day.  Carp fishing on a fly rod can be so frustrating but all it takes is one fish to turn your day from frustrating to a successful trip.  After landing this 6 ½ pounder (on a 5 weight) I decided to do a little more cruising and was lucky enough to get this pic of an Osprey.  You just never know what you may run across when you’re out for a cruise.