Up Down Bass - The Kayak Bass Fishing Blog Of Dean Brown

The kayak angling journal of Dean Brown

I Quit Fishing And I Feel Fine

I wish the title was some desperate, sensationalistic attempt to spike traffic. However, it couldn’t be more accurate. As I mentioned recently, my wife and I have been expecting a little boy, and I am proud to announce that he has arrived happy and healthy. A blessing indeed, my life will never be the same (and you should definitely click here to see a few pictures of our little man). My fishing time has nearly evaporated, and I could care less.

I may not be fishing very much, but I will always carve out enough time for our North Texas Kayak GTG events. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, our gatherings benefit one of the coolest programs in the sport: Heroes On The Water. The good folks over at Mariner Sails hosted this time around, and we are all proud to announce that we raised more money for HOW than ever before. I have a lot to be proud of these days. As usual, you can click here to view some images from the event.

Superstitions, Luck, and Hard Work

I think, by now, it’s appropriate for me to admit that Tyler State Park is one of my favorite places to visit. Sure, I have a number of secret haunts that call, but nothing like the pines of East Texas. My usual campsite immediately offered an odd focal point, as I couldn’t help but note a lone penny left on the picnic table. Was it a sign? Perhaps some people believe in that sort of thing, but even on Halloween, alone in the wilderness, I wasn’t buying the old superstition. I hold true to the strong belief that good things happen to those who work the hardest. The little charm didn’t bring me a lunker bass, but it did give me a pretty good literary transition (and you can see 23 pictures from my trip by clicking here before you move on).

Texas was a heavy hitter in the 2013 Kayak Angler’s Choice Awards. Of course this wasn’t a surprise to me, as I know too well the sacrifices involved. Quality and quantity are rarely one, but in the case of Payne’s Paddle Fish and The Lone Star Chronicles, the proof is in the pudding. No luck here, just great examples of persistent, consistent, and tireless work. I was very happy to see Up Down Bass on the list of initial nominees, but I knew I didn’t stand a chance against these guys. If you haven’t voted for the final round of nominees, please head on over there and do so.

Small Winter

While our first significant cold front makes its way through North Texas, the unmistakable smell of Fall brings back the most vivid of memories. The sound of helmets and shoulder pads crashing are only slightly distant, not far from the sound of my first car turning over for the very first time. As far as Up Down Bass is concerned, I am reminded of an article I published two years ago (click here for the jump). My wife and I have always known that we wanted a family, but of course we never really knew just exactly when that would happen or what it would look like. In the same vein, I have always suspected that my little web project might grow its own wings and end up in a place I could have never imagined. Eric’s little man is now approaching his two year birthday while I am once again met with the same beautiful anticipation. My wife and I are expecting a little boy in January.

Have you had enough of the poetic, sappy verbiage? Me too. I could write all night about my new fishing buddies, but I should probably get to work. My fatherly responsibilities have certainly cut into my fishing time, but the road and water are still mine. A recent trip to a remote, and secret, stretch of the Neches River Basin yielded some really great results, while a drive to the Caddo Grasslands produced quality largemouth but an almost complete lack of imagery. A heavy rain started just after I snapped a picture of the Telephone road sign, and I didn’t think twice about leaving my camera in the tent as I paddled out into the downfall.

It’s hard to believe that another GTG has whirled by us. The kayak angling community continues to progress, and even in the face of nasty weather and location changes, our gatherings continue to grow. As usual, we managed to take a few photographs (click here for the link). I happily took on the responsibility of leading the children’s events, and it didn’t hurt that Bass Pro Shops had my back. With the help of the Grapevine events manager, Jen, and one of our most knowledgeable kayak pro staffers, Jimmy, we brought along enough supplies to keep all parties occupied. This also marks my entry into the tackle box and kayak pinata game.

Big Summer

As I write, the MLB Home Run Derby rings in the background. It’s hard to evade inspiration in a moment like this, and as the best of the best swing for the fences, I must report that I too have been taking a series of full cuts. In general, my time on the water is spent “just trying to catch a few bass.” However, there is something about the summer that challenges me to leave comfortable repetition, abandoning the percentage technique for a quality pattern. The Zoom Magnum Fluke has been a game changer for me recently, and while it takes a good minute or two for these classic baits to free fall into to the depths, the results are there for the patient. Click here to see a collection of various images from the past month, but more importantly, click here to see my five best fish from a truly epic afternoon on the water.

Chris Payne, Shaun Russell, and Luther Cifers will be teaching a full kayak angling clinic at Mariner Sails on July 27th, and for those of you who are unfamiliar with these three gents, you might want to make some plans. As if that weren’t enough, the collections will directly support Heroes On The Water. Click here to learn more about the event, and don’t forget to visit Mr. Payne’s blog for the latest in kayak speak.

Spring Updates 2013

The spring season is always eventful for the committed angler. Our local kayak GTG events are growing exponentially, and our most recent gathering, held just a few weekends ago at Lake Grapevine, proved this trending math. Of course, there are plenty of pictures, all of which can be viewed by clicking here. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to demo our new Bass Pro Shops Ascend FS128T Kayak at the event, and the response was great. This boat is definitely turning some heads, and if you are interested in learning more about this new fishing platform, I would recommend clicking here and here. Both reviews include a wealth of information, photos, and video. In other news, I recently returned from a really great camping and fishing trip at Lake Texoma. I stayed at Eisenhower State Park and took full advantage of the rare smallmouth opportunity. As always, you can view the comprehensive set of images by clicking here.

Five Days: Deep In The Swamps Of Caddo Lake

I thought I knew what to expect, and as I desperately search for a visual or literal reference, I can’t help but cite the shaky and disorienting sentiments of the Blair Witch Project. Were the swamps completely confusing and disorienting? Yes, they absolutely were. Were they frightening? Not for us. We paddled into this wild anomaly without hesitation, and we were quickly reminded of nature’s challenge.

I didn’t get a picture of her, but a really nice dog with one white eye greeted us at Pine Needle Lodge. Following in the footsteps, or paddle strokes, of the Dallas Downriver Club, we set out to mimic their annual Halloween Goat Island Excursion. It felt good to leave our cars in a private area, and before we knew it, we were deep in the swamps of Caddo Lake. The giant salvinia infestation made it almost entirely impossible to paddle. In fact, it was so thick that we couldn’t tell the difference between land and water. Our first day didn’t allow for much fishing time, and after setting up camp and watching the sun quickly disappear, we bedded down in anticipation of the morning bite.

Unfortunately, our morning efforts were unsuccessful. We had a difficult time finding fishable water, and with the vegetation completely covering the entire area, it was hard to make a read. I caught a few little fish out of some very small holes, but it didn’t take long for us to realize that we needed to make some adjustments to our plans. We headed back to camp, packed up, and quickly made our way down the bank to the Carter’s Chute Paddling Trail Launch. To our surprise, the area offered easy access to more open water, and the launch facility was top notch. We set up camp at our new location and walked down the road to get our cars from Pine Needle Lodge. I fell asleep excited about the possibilities.

The morning air was brutally cold. I warmed myself by the fire until the sun lifted above the trees, and made my way out into the swamp. Our new location was much more navigable, and fortunately, it fished better as well. My first keeper fish finally came, followed by several others. Caddo Lake is a bass angler’s paradise, but I was having a heck of a time with the patterns. I just couldn’t figure them out. Satisfied with a much better morning, I headed back to camp to prepare for the next phase of our adventure. We would be heading over to Moonshadows Hideaway for the remainder of our stay, and a bachelor party would soon be taking place across the border.

Moonshadows Hideaway offered a really nice dock directly adjacent to deeper water, and unlike the first dog, I got a good picture of our trip’s second greeter. The vegetation was still present, but not nearly as much as the previous locations. I spent most of the day struggling, but the quality of wildlife in this area was much better. A few more keeper fish found their way in front of my camera, and I paddled back to camp with my head held high. Our group was quickly growing in anticipation of Saturday’s bachelor party in Shreveport, and I found myself caring less about the fishing. It was really great to see some old friends, and we spent the rest of the evening around the campfire with cold beverages and acoustic guitars.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the short trip over to Shreveport. With work calling early in the morning, I spent a little time casting off the dock before packing up. My trip to Caddo marked a possible new direction for Up Down Bass, as I spent most of my time experimenting with some new widescreen photography techniques. I am definitely going to need some more practice, but I rather like the results. Once again, the comprehensive set of images can be found in a recent report I wrote over at the Texas Fishing Forum, and you can easily navigate to the article by clicking here. Congratulations to my good friends, Brandon and Jason. I know you guys will make Kimber and Malerie very happy. Well done gentlemen.