While thumbing through an issue of Southwest Fly Fishing, I saw an article about a small creek east of Houston called Village Creek. At the office, the following day, I gave the article to my friend Alex, who read it eagerly. We both decided that this little creek, in the eastern Pineywoods of Texas, absolutely needed its local fish population terrorized by two guys and a dog. Alex and I loaded up the inflatable Flycraft drift boat Friday morning and before the sun rose over I-10, we were heading down the highway eastward.
We put into the water around 7:00AM where RT 327 runs over the creek. Our take-out was approximately 2.5 miles downstream to a small boat ramp called Baby Galvez Landing. Even in the waking light of the early morning the air was muggy, and it was evident that it would be a hot day. The dog, Minnow, ran frantically around the boat ramp in excited anticipation.
I took the oars first and Alex sat at the bow of the boat ready to cast his fly line. It didn’t take long before Alex spotted a gar rising to the surface of the water. He threw a quick roll cast to the gar and began stripping his tandem wooly buggers. Suddenly, Alex’s line went taut and he felt a hard tug. He quickly set the hook and a split second later we were both laughing with excitement as the lean body of a gar came rocketing out of the water. The prehistoric-looking fish splashed frantically on the surface of the water and jumped several times before submitting to the pull of the rod. So with that, our day started with a gar in the boat before we even had floated out of sight of the boat ramp. It was going to be a good day.
The creek was pretty slow-moving for the majority of the float, but the banks were high and there weren’t many trees overhanging the water. There was plenty of room for a nice back cast. Evidence of the fairly recent flooding events were all around us as we floated. Huge oak trees that had toppled from the banks into the water were protruding from the depths. Their gnarled limbs jutted from the surface of the calm waters as if they were attempting to grab the high banks and roust their woody frames from the sandy creek bottom. Our inflatable drift boat floated lazily overtop of the submerged trees as we attempted to cast our lines amongst the skeletal forms of the submerged limbs.
Most meanders in the creek offered gorgeous sandy point bars. On numerous occasions throughout our float, we pulled the boat up to these beautiful white sandbars to take a break and let the dog run off some pent-up energy. Once the boat pulled up to the sand bar and Alex and I got out, Minnow, would leap out of the boat with fervor and start racing around the white sandbar in circles. She sent sand flying into the air with every bounding leap she took. After a couple laps around the point bar, she would generally wade into the shallows of the water and lay down. When she was cooled sufficiently, she would then prowl the shallows for a nice stick protruding out of the sand. She would tug on the stick furiously until it was removed from its partial burial. With that she would trot proudly over to a damp patch of sand and begin gnawing happily.
The water itself had a very tannic tint to it. But even with the rusty brown color, there was more visibility than I would have thought. With that being said, sight fishing was out of the question, but it was possible to see into the water about 8 to 10 inches.
In hindsight, it seems like a 5-weight is plenty strong for this creek. Alex and I both brought 7-weight rods and that seemed like too much backbone. We each hooked into species of fish that neither of us had caught before. We hooked into plenty of Longear Sunfish and I caught my first Spotted Bass. It may have just been coincidence, but it seemed like most of the Longear Sunfish were along the banks where there didn’t appear to be much cover. The two bass, one of which was a Largemouth, were found around submerged trees. By far, the Longears were the most fun to catch. They would hit white streamers and dry flies readily, despite their tiny size. The Longears’ coloration was fantastic. Their reddish bellies contrasted with the aqua-blue coloring down the length of their sides.
Overall this creek was a great float. The day was very hot and humid, but the good fishing took our minds off of the hundred-degree temperatures. Good fishing, a friend, and a dog made it well worth the 2-hour drive.