GOYEN FISHIN': An awesome morning on Lake Mescalero
It's good to be back, talking about what I love to do most, and that's fishing along the Texas Coast.
Even though I have gone "0" for in July in articles written for the Advocate, I have not missed a week of saltwater fishing along the Texas Coast since the first week of July.
I've had many adventures on the water this past month and one that stands out was not on the coast in saltwater but in a freshwater lake.
For the past several years we have been very fortunate to go to my dad's cabin in South Fork, Colo. for our family vacation.
My mom encouraged us to come the week of July 4 because of all the festivities that were planned on this particular holiday weekend. Unfortunately, forest fires had been raging in several parts of Colorado the month of June but were not close to South Fork until - you guessed it - it was time for us to leave.
We had to decide on June 25 if we were going.
The decision was easy because South Fork had already been evacuated. There were over 500 fire fighters trying to save the town along with 400 National Guardsmen.
Thank goodness the town was saved - a week after our vacation.
We called Roy at the Inn of the Mountain Gods to see if any rooms were available at this beautiful resort in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
There were rooms available so my wife, my granddaughter, Haley, my son, Daniel, and his family headed west.
My wife, Becky, and I were here last June and I wrote about it last summer, but this time I was more prepared to catch the big fish that got away during last year's trip.
Inn of the Mountain God's Resort is located right on Lake Mescalero. You can look out of your room and see the trout busting the top of the water trying to eat all the suicidal insects that get too close.
Upon arrival seeing this even got me excited about being on the water bright and early the next morning.
My son and I were at the marina at first light with our poles rigged out ready to fish. The temperature was around 48 degrees and the fog had just lifted off of the mountains surrounding the back side of the lake (what a beautiful sight).
We wanted to be first in line so we could be assured of getting a small aluminum boat with a trolling motor.
We rented the boat for three hours and were the only ones on the lake that early besides the marina employees.
(I've mentioned before that I've learned that the best fishing is always the first two hours after daylight.)
There were two girls that were working at the small marina next to the covered floating boat dock where all the boats were tied up. I told the girls with confidence that they needed to go get an icebox to put the fish in that Daniel and I were fixing to catch.
I said since we didn't have a place to cook them that I would give them the fish we caught.
They both looked at me with a look suggesting that I was crazy.
The water was dead calm as we headed to the other side of the lake. I told Daniel that we were headed to an area that I lost some big fish with his mom last summer.
We each had two poles; one pole was rigged up with a clear bubble cork and a 2-1/2 foot leader line with a black fly.
I pulled this particular color fly out of my box because it was the same color fly that the trout were eating the evening before. The other pole had a larger hook than normal and a heavy split shot weight about 18" above it. We had purchased some large night crawlers (worms) to put on these hooks.
We both started throwing the clear bubble rig first.
I've learned that trout will stage themselves close to the bank until the shade of the early morning disappears.
Trout were busting the water all around us.
I threw my fly right on top of a big swirl and there was an explosion.
The fight was on.
I fought this fish for what seemed like an eternity until Daniel was able to grab this beast and throw it into the boat.
He was soaking wet from the constant splashing of the fish. It was a huge German brown trout.
This was by far the biggest freshwater trout I had ever caught.
These fish are amazingly strong. God made these fish strong because many trout live in streams and rivers and they live their life swimming against constant strong currents.
We now switched over to the other pole that had a night crawler attached. We headed to the dam and decided to troll down the edge of the drop off.
Always thread the night crawler on the middle of the hook so that half of the worm is moving on both sides of the hook. The worms we were using were at least 8-10 inches long.
We began to troll and Daniel hooked up first. It was an 18-inch rainbow trout (see photo). We caught three more rainbows and decided to head back to the dock.
What an awesome morning on Lake Mescalero.
I had just caught the biggest freshwater trout of my life and my son was there to see it.
As we pulled the boat into the floating dock the two girls saw the fish.
These were bigger than normal.
What a smile they had on their faces as they took the fish and put them in their ice box.
I know what they were going to have for supper that night.
This was another great adventure on the water.
In my next article I'll be talking about my party's encounter with a stubborn alligator on my most recent trip to the Coast.
Danny Goyen is an outdoor writer and speaker. He has been guiding on the Texas Coast for over 25 years.