Brazos River Safari #2

My friend Kim, my two boys (20 and 23), and I are heading out to the Brazos River in North Central Texas Saturday for three nights of floating and river fishing. Kim and I are after big flathead and blue catfish. Andrew, my older boy, just likes to catch fish. Curtis will play on the river, not much of a fisherman. This is a longer repeat of an earlier trip, actually my third to this part of the Brazos. River fishing can be addicting.

I’ve seem some pictures of the Brazos
There’s a Brazos guide on another site I frequent. Man, that’s a pretty river. It’d be hard not to enjoy yourself, especially fishing with your sons. I love fishing with my Dad. My girls are a little young yet, though my daughter has caught a nice largemouth (then didn’t want to touch it and immediately wanted to get back to “playing soccer”), some croakers in the gentle surf of the Chesapeake Bay (this she REALLY dug), and a few snapper size bluefish in the heavy surf off Chincoteague (she was well back from the surf itself - no need to send child protective services). Looking SO forward to taking my little tom-boy out. She’s 19 months, so just a few months younger than I was when I started fishing. I’m a little embarrassed that she hasn’t been in a boat on the water yet. But she loves playing in them in the yard.

  • Big D

We cut the trip shrot one day. Came
back Monday evening. We found a shortcut that cuts off 30 one way miles and and hour of time (city traffic). It was great. There was enough water flow to mostly paddle all the way down stream, though the river dropped and we had to tow the kayaks back upstream in several places. Upstream, there is an hydroelectric dam (Lake Whitney). Changes in the river where we launched and fished take about two days.

Weather was great, sunny mild days, cool nights in the upper 30’s. The fishing was fun, but not fast or numerous. My friend Kim caught a 22 lb longnose gar. It was over 4 ft long. That was on his heavy rig, a Penn 209 spooled with 80lb braided line and an 80lb leader. He also caught an 11 lb blue catfish on a light spinning rig. I caught a few 3-5 lb channel cats, my son an 8lb blue catfish. We fried fish river side, slept well…night fishing died after about 9:30. amd generally wore ourselves out.

It was great having my two boys along. They are at an age, 20 and 23, where they can enjoy one another without the sibling rivalry. With that age difference, as kids, they were always into other things and spent little time with each other. Just wish my younger son enjoyed the fishing and was half as competent an outdoorsman as the older boy. Oh well, he’s a good kid, doing well in college, and plays it straight. Can’t have it all and I’ll for sure take what we got.

My brother and I
We were three years apart and fought tooth and claw just about daily much of the time we were growing up.

We attended the same college and lived in the same dorm. While there, we were both active in college politics. We began to forge a relationship then. That relationship has been fully cemented through paddling. Though I’m probably still a better general outdoorsman than he (not that I’m any great shakes), but he’s a darn sight better paddler than I am. Of course, he lives right on a lake and has his own kayak launch.

  • Big D

My oldest boy, Andrew, has been in
a kayak about 4 times, all except this trip in my 9.6 ft Necky Sky. This time he paddled my Loon 138, I paddled a friend’s 138T, same boat, larger cockpit. To watch Andrew, you would thing he was born paddling a kayak. In the proper kayak, show him how to roll one time and he’d be revolving. My other son, Curtis will take longer to learn and will never be as confident a paddler. But, they are learning how to get along and, hopefully, forging a lifetime relationship. That’s something I wish I’d had with my siblings, though neither are people I’d ever have in my home or be around if not related.

Anyway, I’m a firm believer that a weekend or longer on the water paddling builds stronger bonds between parents and children, also between siblings, than almost any other family activity. Much better than backpacking, thought that has its rewards. I think there’s more interdependency on the water. The exception, of course, may be church.