Chasing Rainbows in a Kayaks E-mail
Friday, 16 October 2009 07:44

Chasing the Rainbow with South Texas Kayak

My name is Jeff York; I am a kayak guide and a co-owner of South Texas Kayak (www.SouthTexasKayak.com). After proudly serving 20 years in the military, my family and I moved to San Antonio, Texas. I have always been a water sport enthusiast, so it did not take long before I was kayaking on the numerous Hill Country Rivers located near San Antonio. While out on the water, I often reflected on how lucky I was to be able to enjoy such magnificent scenery and fishing with family and friends. This was all due to a “little plastic boat” as described by my teenage daughter. It seemed like a tragedy to me that everyone did not have the same opportunity. From this, grew an idea to introduce people to kayaking, from those who had never kayaked to those who had little or no experience on the water. Welcome to South Texas Kayak!

Instead of just jumping right into a story about fishing, I think it is important to appreciate the benefits of kayak fishing. Kayak fishing allows you to not only enjoy the act of fishing (and hopefully catching) but it allows you to slow-down and to “take it all in”. It’s astonishing what you can see simply drifting quietly down a river, occasionally casting towards the bank or behind a boulder sticking out of the water. Kayak anglers around the world have discovered the unbelievable access to rarely visited waters which kayak fishing allows. Our adventures in the Texas Hill Country are no different. So whether you fishing, camping or just paddling, I think it’s important to never overlook the splendid natural beauty anglers routinely see while fishing from “little plastic boats”.

The Texas Hill Country

Imagine a place where beautiful giant cypress trees line the river’s edge; where the rivers are fed crystal clear water from countless springs; where the sky is a beautifully clear azure blue. You could be anywhere…..but you're in the Texas Hill Country. If you think what I described above does not seem a likely description of Texas, you are not alone. After all, if the only part of Texas you have ever seen is the trek across the massive state using I-10 or I-35, you have missed the best of what Texas has to offer.

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Blanco State Park is located four blocks from the charming city of Blanco's old town square. This Hill Country gem contains one mile of the spring-fed Blanco River that offers outdoor enthusiasts a fantastic opportunity to swim, paddle, fish and camp. This is what makes my job so much fun – Guided kayak tours featuring Rainbow Trout Fishing at Blanco State Park. Each year the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) stocks the Blanco River with rainbow trout. Blanco State Park is on the most popular locations in the state to catch rainbow trout due to the parks attractiveness, convenient location and its proximity to downtown Blanco.

 

“It's not uncommon to see Wild Turkey and Geese enjoying the natural surroundings”

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Chasing the Rainbow

Shortly before dawn, the early morning air is still brisk from the typical Hill Country Texas winter night. South Texas Kayak guides unload the kayaks, check equipment and prepare for their customers' early arrival. After a brief orientation and safety class on the banks of the Blanco River, anglers are excited to get on the water and straight to the fishing action. Our expert guides lead enthusiastic paddlers several yards down river to select spots where paddlers quietly lower their anchors into the clear cool water and prepare for the pending battle. It normally does not take long before the rainbows find their first offering. This becomes obvious, as the ultra light rods quickly bend and the line begins to strip off the reel.

Once the anglers have their first trout in the kayak, the fun begins. Rainbow trout do not stop fighting "just because you got them in the kayak." Anglers not familiar with the rainbow’s feisty nature are often caught off-guard when their catch abruptly performs a series of acrobatic maneuvers and then ends up back in the water.

Fortunately there are plenty of trout to be had and most anglers quickly master the art of putting their catch on their stringers. Sometimes anglers get an unexpected surprise while chasing the rainbows. There are plenty of catfish in the Blanco River as well. They too can often put up a good fight!

One advantage of chasing the rainbows in kayaks is the mobility of the kayak. As the trout move up and down the river, anglers can easily follow their movement by paddling short distances which allows the anglers to keep fishing productive water. It’s not uncommon for even fist time anglers to fill their stringers with the daily limit (5 per angler, per day).

Just as the popularity of kayak fishing has grown, South Texas Kayak has grown along with it. As a co-owner and guide, I still get caught up in the adventure of it all. More importantly, I have realized what I love most about guiding kayak fishing trips, which is seeing the excitement in people’s eyes which often are larger than their smiles, the laughter and the look of total delight on their face after being introduced to something as down-to-earth as chasing a rainbow trout. I guess kayak fishing for me is not just about the act of fishing but it is about the people it attracts and the opportunity to share something I love to do.

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Whether you love to paddle, fish or camp, South Texas Kayak has an adventure for you. Moving beyond the original concept to simply introduce the sport of kayaking, we have expanded our list of adventures which now include, half-day paddle trips, specialty kayak fishing trips and overnight kayak camping trips. Come try us out and experience the fun for yourself.

See you on the water,

 

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