It was just a few weeks ago that we planned on getting together and finding some locations that we could take our fly tying club members to fish. One of those places was my friend's place on the Arroyo Colorado. As you learned from the previous post some of us got together to help with planting the sand dunes at South Padre Island. There we finalized plans to meet at Chili Willies for dinner and then head to a possible fishing spot that evening.
Before we headed to the fishing spot, we ate burgers, calamari, and several other Chili Willie's dishes. Of course, I had turned on the fishing lights to attract baitfish and shrimp, just to entice some seatrout and redfish to lurk before we got there. Charlie Villarreal, Mike Gonzalez, Sheala Castillo, Irma Ramirez, and my sister, Dora Rivas had a good time eating and drinking before heading to the fishing spot. Mike and Sheala's daughter, Isla, wanted to see a fish, so we couldn't disappoint her.
Both Mike and Charlie casted clouser-type flies into quiet water. Schools of baitfish would scatter at times. We were certain that predatory fish were below the water. At around nine, Mike and Sheala prepared to leave and went into the house to say their good-byes to Dora and Irma who were catching up on family things.
Charlie knew that the bait was a good indicator that something was making the bait nervously jump out of the water. Not long after Mike and Sheala went in to the house, Charlie hooked on to a small redfish. At first, we didn't know what that silvery fish was that was tugging so hard. It wasn't a keeper, but he was feisty. Charlie's rod had a good bend in it and it didn't show itself at first. Finally, we figured that it was a redfish and carefully brought it near the dock.
At the same time, I remembered Isla's wish and ran (OK, maybe not a real run) to the house. Mike, Sheala, and Isla came outside to see the outcome of Charlie's attempt to catch his first fish of the year. He was a happy camper and so was Isla. She starred at the fish with her eyes wide open and an unsure smile. Eventually, she was so comfortable with the site that she touched the fish.
We did our deed. Isla got to see and touch her fish. Her parents say that she "likes" fish. I think it was fitting to show her that fish are important to our natural world and she got to see all of us treating the fish with respect by releasing it to grow some more.
Hopefully, we can have more children come and join us at some future outings. The inclusion of moms, dads, and kids at events like these will help to raise awareness to the pleasures the outdoors brings us. Also, its noteworthy that participating in events that encourage service to the environment are important. Today's double duty was a good example of what we can do in the future.
We also need to remember that we're about fly fishing and that fly tying is only one part of the process. Events can be structured so that we can participate in fly tying earlier during the week, have a service event and follow it up with a fishing/social event. Hopefully, we took this opportunity as the first look of this venture as a possibility.
Charlie didn't end with his redfish that night. He followed it up with two keeper seatrout. The photographs that follow attest to his tube fly's ability to draw strikes even when the night is slow. I checked out the lunar tables and the fishing activity was slow. We were done by 10 p.m. and had three fish photographed and released. Can't ask for anything better. Congratulations Charlie.
We were done by 10 p.m. and had three fish photographed and released. Can't ask for anything better. Congratulations Charlie.