Fall is here but that doesn't mean much in Texas...


Yes "Fall" is officially here but that doesn't mean too much in Texas. We don't have to worry about triple digit scorchers anymore but temperatures have still been pretty toasty for the most part with highs in the 80s touching 90 degrees on occasion, with the exception of one recent cool front.  Won't be too long before its time to throw on the waders and stick some Trout! I'd be lying if I said the slightly cooler temps have affected fishing much so far.  It was a phenomal summer on the waters I guide and the beginning of fall has been more of the same.  

Topwater action on The San Marcos River has been excellent.  Big deer hair bugs in tight to the bank and I mean within a foot of the bank, have been very effective.  The same goes for Upper Guadalupe which is flowing very nicely due to recent rains.  Deer hair bugs and poppers (size 2-6) in tight to the banks had Largemouth and Guadalupe Bass on the chew.  Plopping the fly down with some force aka "slapping the bank" seems to get their attention, pop it once after it hits let the fly sit for a second or two and pop again a few times.  If they're interested fly will probably get hammered within 10ft of the bank, usually shortly after it hits the water.  Big Largemouth in the slow water in tight to Cypress roots and Guads above rapids and especially in slack pockets along the banks in fast water.  Weighted craw patterns fished in current seams have been very effective for Guads as well.  The Bass in the "Trout Section" of the Guadalupe have been a little finicky as of late making us work for them but catching some very nice Largemouth and Smallmouth with excellent sight fishing conditions.  When you spot a big Bass its very important to make that first cast count.  These Bass don't swim away too far when spooked, they just won't eat. Craw patterns fished very slowly near the bank or structure have been the ticket. They don't want to move very far or fast for their food so watch the area around your fly and if you see a fish following let fly fall to the bottom, wait and watch for the fish to slurp it up.  This has yielded some BIG bass recently.  

A common question I get, "When is the best time to fish for Stripers in the Guadalupe?"  Whenever they're hungry! Seriously though. With the exception of periods following 6000 cfs flood releases, the Stripers in the Guad are tough to fool once they've been in the river awhile.  We are basically fishing for one BIG bite on possible state record fish that have been in the river, likely eating Trout, Bass and other large fish for years.  I've caught them on 30 degree days in January and 100 degree days in July, everywhere from 50 to 1200 cf/s flows. There are several factors and variables I'd say might make for better Striper fishing like overcast or rainy days, pressure drops, certain solunar conditions but then again the biggest river Striper I caught was on a bright sunny day in the middle of the afternoon.  I've had multiple Stripers eat Trout and big Bass (like 5lb+ Bass) off clients lines like Sharks in the ocean.  They were likely sharing the same water with these fish until the Trout or Bass started swimming erratically, which got the Striper's attention and prey drive kicked in.  I have seen HUGE 20-30lb+ fish on every trip for awhile now, pretty much a guarantee to have a few big fish interested following flies. Seriously have to see it to believe it.  Some solid opportunities were missed on a few true river monsters recently, including a state record class fish but several 5-10lb Stripers found their way into the net the last few weeks and any river Striper is a good one.  Like I said, we are fishing for that one big bite and it is important to stay focused.  They will literally yank the fly line out of your hand while stripping the fly when you least expect it. The conclusion I've come to after a few years of chasing these fish is that any day is a good day to fish for Stripers on The Guadalupe but you can definitely up your chances by doing a trip with me!

John Shank