Slipping my kayak into the South Llano River near junction, Texas, we are launching in a riffle, below a bridge. I am slightly behind the group, and slightly ahead as well. I guess another way to say that is I am right in the middle, an arrangement that only seems fitting as it matches the birth order of me and my siblings
In the river with both brothers and both sisters, on a family camping trip. Thirteen kayaks total. Me, my daughter, siblings, nieces and nephews.
This trip is about family bonding, and not exclusively fishing. Any time I get together with family, though, seems to have turned into an excuse to fish a little. Half of us are fishing, and half simply floating the river, and occasionally taking a swimming break. To find any success at all with our rods requires us to be, at least intermittently unsocial. We either have to hang back or advance ourselves well in front of the group. So we do that, us fishermen. We split ourselves up and try to find a few moments near the overhanging trees and aquatic grass beds. Moments to coax a Guadeloupe Bass, or Rio Grande Cichlid from the water. We tarry, switching flies, casting, and paddling a little to keep out of the trees, and occasionally land a small river fish. Then our non-fishing family catches up, and maybe that pushes us further ahead, or maybe we lash our rods to our kayaks and take a leisurely swimming break with them. After all, it is warming up a little – so much so that if we were locals with regular access to this water, we’d pack it in and nap or something during the heat of the day, returning to fish at dusk. But when you only have a day or two on the river, you make the most of every moment. Between the swimming, joking, and dunking, I am able to pull off a grand slam of sorts: Guadeloupe Bass, Bluegill, Red-Breasted Sunfish, and Warmouth. The Guadeloupe Bass, in fact, a new species for me on the fly. Still absent from my fly rod species list: the Rio Grande Cichlid.
The fellowship with my family is great; reconnecting in what started as an invitation from a sister for anyone who wanted to join her family on a camping trip, but which morphed into a full blown family reunion.
Work has kept a few from attending. Welding school has one of my sons otherwise engaged, and my other son is fulfilling an obligation with some Marine Corps training at Camp Pendleton, California. In fact, I find myself pretty distracted by some issues at work.
Things need tending to at home, so this one will end a day or so earlier than originally planned.
Back to work.
Off the river.