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Blast and cast

Visiting old friends, hunting dove and fly fishing in Texas

Recently two good friends, from Texas, invited my friend Sam and me to come to Texas to dove hunt and fly fish. Our invitation had us staying at the ranch of one friend where we would tune up for the dove hunt and bass fishing. Sam and I were really looking forward to being with our two friends.

To tune up for the hunt we shot clay pigeons and stationary targets. To tune up for our day of fly fishing, on a river, we fished in my friend’s stock pond for catfish, bass and pan fish. The tuneups were very successful, and we celebrated with several meals, great wines, cocktails and the telling of tall tales.

The dove hunt was reminiscent of past dove hunts I had participated in many years ago. The field where we shot was not overgrown, so finding downed birds was easy. The field had been a grain crop, so the birds were looking for the harvested grain on the ground. There were trees for shade on the edges of the field, plus the temperature was in the low 90s with a mild breeze. In short, we were in a great location. The dove agreed with my assessment. There were five in our group of hunters as our host had the enjoyment of his son and daughter hunting with us. We all shot well and had our limits in about two hours. It truly reminded me of the dove hunts I participated in when I lived in Texas.

Now for the piece de resistance, fly fishing for bass. Our hosts had arranged a day of guided fly fishing on the Brazos River. Our guide was Ben Tabor, owner of Fatties On The Fly, and his associate J.D. I’m sorry to say one of our hosts was not feeling well, so there were only three of us fly fishing. The Brazos is a river that is about 2,000 miles long, flows through several states, and is dammed in multiple locations forming many great lakes. We were going to fish below the dam that creates Possum Kingdom Lake. Having spent many summers, when growing up, on Possum Kingdom Lake, it was like old home week for me.

We launched in two inflatable rafts and begin catching small mouth bass, almost immediately. The fly of choice was a bass popper, cast using six and seven-weight rods. The poppers were everything from big white bugs that looked, and cast, like big marshmallows, to small poppers usually used on pan fish. While we did see pan fish, they weren’t interested in our flies. In addition to the large number of smallmouth bass eating my poppers, I had an alligator dare try to eat one. However, he couldn’t get his mouth around the fly. We also saw carp, but similar to the pan fish they weren’t interested.

This cast-and-catch frenzy lasted for the two hours that we floated several miles down river. Once we reached the turnaround spot our guides began to row us back upstream to where we had launched. This took another couple of hours that produced more bass, one weighing in around 6 pounds. In addition to the 6-pound bass, one of the fly fishermen, who will remain nameless, thought swimming in a deep pool in the river was a good idea. However, as it was warm with a little breeze, he dried out quickly.

This was a great few days. I got to do three of my most favorite things, see old friends, hunt dove and fly fish. My advice, as we get older, never pass up this type of get together. It’s good for your soul.

Reach Don Oliver at durango.fishing@gmail.com.