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A Day On Sloan Creek

By Robin Rhyme

I have had time to eat, sleep and mull. There was so much input, so much to experience yesterday when we met and fished Sloan Creek.

Sloan would be any of a great many Collin County creeks that eventually flow to the Trinity or Lavon save for the fact that an old sportsmen's' horse club built a concrete dam across the creek at some point in the dim past resulting in approximately one hundred yards of "more than a creek."

Mick invited Don and I to come up and do some after-work fishing while Mick took possession of his prized Zenkoanhead bamboo staggered ferrule bamboo rod. (Bamboo speak 6' 9" staggered ferruled/Thomas taper/4-5 weight. A sweet rod indeed!) Don brought out his 6' 9" non-staggered Garrison 193 taper, 3 weight. Since this was all bamboo day I would have been embarrassed to show up with mere graphite. I dragged out my J.R. special, a bamboo rod I got from him a few years back. It's minimally a six weight, nine feet plus with a butt section you could pistol whip drunks with.

Started off wading across the top of the dam. By wading I mean that my shoes were wetted up just past the soles. I'm lazy to a fault and did not want to change footwear. Right behind the dam is a pileup of timber washed down from upstream. A nice pool bounded by dam and timber seemed to promise some fishing success. I was not disappointed and soon hooked up with some pretty little sunfish. The variations in color always delight me. There were some bright yellow bellies, oranges, greens and blues with a number of different shapes as well. I think that it's bluegills and rock bass and greenies all mixed in and interbreeding or not as the case may be.

After landing a few surprisingly feisty sunnies I got bored and decided to amuse myself by dapping the fly into the innermost depths of the timber pile. There's a pool section bounded by roots and dead cottonwood parts with a deep undercut and depth that is greater than the surrounding water. A bad place to be if one were a minnow or insect etc.

Sure enough, as soon as I took my attention off of what I was doing and started maundering my view around the sights, looking for my next place to fish, the rod bent hard and line started screaming off of the reel. Mind you this is six weight line on a big hulking bamboo rod that is minimally a six weight, could probably handle eight weight line. The unknown fish dove into the maze of roots and stickups; I managed to turn his head and get him out long enough to see the biggest sunnie I've ever set eyes on. Then, while I stood there with my mouth agape, being amazed that sunfish got that big, he headed back into the timber. I never got that fish to hand. He stuck up in the lumber works real tight and was probably showing me how many digits of I.Q. he thought I had. So I left him be and took off upstream.

There were a few more sunnies in the slower slack water up from the dam. Deeper water here with pollen and other tree droppings coating the surface. A kingfisher flew overhead at one point fussing and cussing like a blue jay. I think I took his spot. The wind was howling yesterday but where we fished was wind-free. The creek runs west to east, the south bank, anywhere from a steep slope to a vertical wall depending upon where one stands. On the north side I could look up and see the trees whipping in the wind. Snug and calm in the creek bottom I felt as though I was cheating somehow. Texan fly fishers know all too well the bane that is our wind. To cheat was sweetness!

Up from the dam the casting was easier. I held the rod out across the water and side-armed it just like Brad Pitt. One cast came in close to the bank and a steep bluff topped with trees. The fly hit the water but never got to really even get wet. BAM! The sunnie I horsed in was no doubt the biggest sunfish that I have ever landed. Not as big as the hoss I'd left down by the dam but pretty damn darned big. Conservatively he weighed a pound, maybe even more and was fat, fat, fatty boy. He has been doing well on the bugs under that tree.

After that the fish quieted down and we chose to call it a day. Duty calls, life goes on. So the Duck Creek Angling and Margarita Society headed off to meet at El Fenix for Crazy nachos and margaritas. It's the official way of things. ~ Robin Rhyme

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