Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Five miles north of the Copano Bay Bridge, on 35, is a put in spot for canoeing and kayaking Canvasso Creek. Its a relative narrow outlet, about a mile long, that empties into St Charles Bay. It's a place that Renita and I wanted to canoe for some time.
Finally a day arrived when the weather was supposed to be perfect, seventies and little wind, so Renita packed a lunch, while I loaded the canoe, and we took off for the short drive to the bridge and launch.
Arriving at the launch we were, at last I was , surprised at the width of the spot. It looked like someone had cut some brush, to ease the loading and unloading. The water channel was shallow, but about six feet wide so it was an easy access to the wider portion of the creek. The stabilizers and support bar were just barely narrow enough to float through the passage and so with Renita's excellent oarmanship and my pushing we made it to the bay.
Muddy at first the bay bottom quickly changed into a bottom that was mostly sand, with a little silt on top. Immediately several swirls indicated that we had spooked some fish, reds perhaps? I let Renita paddle while I cast a gold Johnson spoon, tipped with a chartreuse twister tail but didn't have any hits. Perhaps it was too large for the fish or maybe it wasn't a gold day.
We continued paddling east, skirting the south side of the creek arm. The water was really shallow, one to two feet, but it was about perfect for us as we checked out herons and egrets. They seemed somewhat upset as we neared, as if to say that this was their home.
The wind picked up as the arm opened. Renita spotted a herd of feral hogs and we stopped and let the wind carry us near them. The canoe was rocking a bit as Renita was trying to take some pictures of the hogs. The nearest one finally sensed our presence and looked at us before grunting a warning. The herd responded with a pig stampede, (I sure like roast pig).
Drifting further east we both rested as the wind blew us steadily eastward. I switched baits and put on a white DOA jig. Its a plastic jig that imitates a small shrimp and has worked for me in a lot of places. It didn't work here even though we passed a lot of fish. Something about my blind casting or retrieving just wasn't right. I am sure putting in a lot of dues days here.
Too suddenly we arrived at the mouth of Cavasso Creek. The wind freshened and small whitecaps began to form. Deciding we had better be discrete we oared to the north shore, crossing deeper water before reaching the other side. The stabilizers worked great as we were sideways to the wind but the canoe was stable and dry. The other side was dotted with duck blinds, that seem to ring the wildlife refuge. Most were abandoned and in disarray. providing a roosting place for heron. Pintails floated around the blinds, taking flight as we neared.
In the distance a grass fire burned out of control. The wind was taking it on a path that would miss our truck, ( It seems like these drought plagued fires are a daily occurrence. This was another was caused by someone burning trash, go figure).
The rowing became harder as we fought the wind. It blew our canoe sideways, whenever we let up, so Renita kept the bow into the wind as I pushed the canoe across the shallow mudflats. I hadn't brought my pushpole so I used the oar, which worked ok and we slowly but steadily neared the truck.
Turning into the narrowing inlet we were finally able to relax. I cast some more as we continued to spook fish, not big but still fish. No luck! Landing at the take out spot, a game warden arrived and checked my license. He seemed kind of amazed that I hadn't caught any reds and kindly said that it must of been one of those times where they just weren't biting.
We drove to Big Tree and ate a late lunch. Two kayaks were fishing St Charles bay and we watched as one rowed against the wind, easily reaching our picnic spot. He said he had caught four small reds and also talked about his kayak, saying that while it was easy to paddle it was also easy to roll. Hmmmmmm. Returning home we were glad we had canoed the creek but weren't thrilled enough to want to return. It was too open for our canoe. Clear skies.