The adhesive quality of wet Texas clay, when applied to
the bottom of a boot, is extraordinary. My naturally
inquisitive nature might normally have compelled me to
admire the way it picked up twigs, grass and other bits
of trivia along the trail and bound them so completely to
the bottom of my feet, but I was preoccupied with fishing
and the extra weight thus added to each step was becoming
So, shaking first one foot and then the other to dislodge it
I half walked, half stumbled down an overgrown path while
trying to keep my fishing pole from hanging on branches as I
went. The unintended result of this little dance was a head on
collision with one of Muddy Creek's greatest wonders
massive spider web.
Suddenly my clay overshoes lost virtually all of their importance,
and despite their cumbersome nature I managed quite an energetic
jig while simultaneously, and even more energetically, slapping
myself all over and making muffled whimpering sounds. Spiders
really give me the creeps, and it is because of little adventures
like this I am developing a real, love-hate relationship with this
Muddy Creek winds through pastureland not far from my
home and empties into a local reservoir. Along it's banks
for a hundred yards or so from the water's edge a thick forest
has grown up consisting of oak and other deciduous species,
and mesquite. Of particular interest in the latter are the 4 inch
thorns that protrude from just about everywhere on their low
hanging branches. Many a time I've had to backtrack, wincing
and rubbing a fresh wound, to retrieve my hat from its skewer.
But not to be out done by mesquite, the various shrubs and
vines that flourish on the forest floor are themselves armored
with a variety of formidable spikes. And, of course, stretching
from branch to branch and vine to vine are those webs, thousands
of them, each with its creator hanging in wait of a meal.
So what on earth makes this place appealing? Well, there aren't
too many fishermen.
I started coming here because of the white bass runs that come
in early spring from out of the lake. During these times the spiders
are hibernating, the ragweed in the fields is dead and trampled and
there are fish galore. There are also a lot of fishermen then. But
because of the overgrown nature of the creek one might always
find a hole untouched by those who fear the thorns, or thick brush,
or the snags that terrorize lesser men.
For this early year fishing I use a 3 foot pole created from the tip
of a broken rod I found on the bank and an ultra light spinning reel.
With that and a box of jigs I can snake my way through the bushes
and crouch at a precarious point just above a log jam and pull fish
after fish out from between the snags.
And I'll likely lose a lot of terminal tackle. But so does everyone else.
In fact, the trees, bushes and protruding snags are hung with a plethora
of colorful bits of feather, chenille and chrome. Line still dangles from
many of them, trailing forlornly into the chocolate water . Half my snags
are the broken line of other people's snags!
Spring rains turn Muddy Creek into a torrent which spreads from it's
banks and widens to engulf both forest and surrounding pasture land.
Carp love this, splashing gleefully where cattle recently roamed. Big
catfish explore the newly flooded land, as well, bringing lots of bait
fishermen into the melee. White bass become tough to get to at this
time because they stay in the main creek bed, which is unreachable
to anyone not wearing a wet suit and a pair of fins.
But as the water recedes back to within it's banks and the silt begins
to settle the visibility into the murk grows with each passing day. When
the water becomes clear enough to see, say, half a foot, I have found
that the white bass begin taking woolly buggers offered them via my 3
weight fly rod.
As the water clears, the fishing gets better and other species get in on
the act. There are yellow bass coming up with the white bass, and there
are a whole lot of bluegill in the creek, along with some crappie and the
occasional largemouth bass. All will chase my flies.
When the rains subside and the white bass runs end for the year,
all those multitudes of fishermen disappear. Only the multicolored
remnants of their passing , still hanging from the branches, remain
fading and rusting to oblivion.
But Muddy Creek still abounds with fish.
Of course, that's also when the spiders begin to make their
appearance, along with their cousins the chiggers. And snakes
slither a bit too often underfoot. But, so long as I am content
with the inconveniences I have practically my own private
fishing preserve. In the midst of a big suburban area, that's
quite a treat.
I catch a lot of big bream in Muddy Creek during the summer,
along with some crappie and small largemouths. I also lose a
lot of flies, tie on a lot of new tippets and perform some quality
cursing at this natural obstacle course.
But in between all of this I might pause to listen to the relaxing
calls of cardinals and mockingbirds, a woodpecker knocking a
hole in a stump or the raucous cry of a peeved heron. The slippery
wet clay banks mimic the walls of an Egyptian pyramid, hieroglyphics
everywhere, written by the paws, claws and toes of endless species
of critters of feather or fur.
I kind of like the place. ~ Bill