Posted by: socalsalty | March 19, 2012

Is SoCal Salty A Fly Guy? – Part I

Llano Courthouse (pronounced LAN'-o)

Ummm no.  But that’s not to say I won’t ever be.  I’m an obsessive kind of guy.  You may have noticed if you’ve been following along.  Because I recognize this fact, I haven’t taken up fly-fishing.  I haven’t taken up fly-fishing for the same reason I haven’t bought a videogame console.  I’m afraid of a new obsession that will suck away what little time I have now.  However, while in Austin, TX last week for South by Southwest (SXSW for short), I had my first fly-fishing experience.

The original plan for the trip was to go on a river drift with Thomas Flemons of Diablo Paddlesports (@diablops).  As it turned out, when Thomas and I were supposed to go out, uncharacteristic rains killed the day.  That night, David Ellzey, aka @texasriverbum stepped up and asked me if I wanted to give it a try the next day.  I didn’t have a lot of time, but he was cool with it so we gave it a go.

Texas River Bum

David is an interesting cat.  He’s been spending time between work projects “surveying” the rivers of the Texas Hill Country.  By surveying, he means wading, kayaking, fishing, tube drifting etc.; taking volumes of pics as he goes; and noting his findings.  The output of this work are detailed guides for each river.  His other fishy project is to put together a network of private access spots in order to build a service where you could enjoy unencumbered access to flyfishing.

David no longer owns spinning gear (not that I’m real proficient with a coffee grinder anyway), so if I wanted to go, it would have to be on the fly.  I’d always been fascinated by flyfishing, and I’m always game for new fishing experiences so I agreed.  We met early in the morning and made a short drive to the city of Llano.  I pronounced it YAWN-o and David corrected me to say the local pronunciation is LAN-o.  David spent several years in SoCal, so he’s informed by the Spanish pronunciations also, but after returning to his native Texas he’s had to relearn Texan.  Ok LAN-o it is.  There in the city courthouse parking lot, we met a man who owned a ranch with private access to the Llano River.  David wanted to check it out as a potential site for his new service.

Nothing like the road to Dock 52

We made our way out, traveling down the highway and over dirt roads to get to a spot called 8 Mile Camp (8 miles from downtown Llano).  After getting a tour from the owner, we were left to ourselves to give the river a go.  David outfitted me with hip waders, a fishing vest, a Buff, and of course the fly rod/reel.  The rod was a 3 weight rod.  By contrast, the fly rod Mat Trevors used on our Guatemalan sailfishing adventure was a 12 weight.  The rod/reel was a 5 piece Elkhorn combo.  It was 8’6″ long and very whippy…not an action that I’m used to (closest thing would be my Seeker 196-8′ that is awesome for throwing the ‘chove).  I was thinking how different it was vs. fishing calico bass here in the kelp with our kelp cutters and heavy action rods.  Same size class of fish, but very different tools.  After a quick lesson, in the grass, we made our way to the river’s edge.

To be continued…

Armed for battle



  1. Nice buff…

    • I thought you’d like that. Remind you of someone?

  2. I think we’ll know after your first rooster…won’t we?

    • Anyway it happens…it’s going to happen 😉 Thanks for stopping by E

  3. Looking good, Salty! Welcome to the obsession.

    PS- I keep my Buff-ing mainly to boat/saltwater to keep my face from melting/peeling off :p

    • Thanks Mat. You were the first person I’ve ever fished with who used a fly rod, so if I get good you can take credit that you were the one who inspired me to jump in 😉

  4. Very nice hat you have there Salty.

    • Yeah, I know. You oughta get one. I know a guy 😉 How has your fishing gone the last couple weeks? I saw you got your surgery. How’s the hand feel? Thanks for coming by LeRoy!

  5. You spelled called wrong. I would make the same mistake(Llano being not pronounced not like llama) especially because most stuff here is pertaining to the Spanish language. Llano NOT like Llama.( Llama is pronounced yama. Which you knew.)

    • Ah, thanks for the spell check buddy. Fixed. Yeah, there is a lot of history behind the Texan pronunciations…goes back to the Alamo! See ya tomorrow. Love!

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