Fishing & Boating News

Paddling Strokes - Update

by: Michael Banks, DDS,

Neches Sunrise
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
(Aug 21, 2015 - Jacksonville, TX)


We have not put in together for some time.  Last time we put in was when I came back from Devils River in April.  I have had some great adventures since then.

I returned to Devils River in May – I told you the Devils gets a hold on you.  This trip was a better adventure that our previous trip in April.  I fly fished this trip using the crawfish fly pattern.  I caught a larger Smallmouth Bass than on the first trip to the Devils.

Lake Naconiche has become my local go-to lake. I had several good kayak trips there this summer catching good numbers of Largemouth Bass.

Somewhere in there (June 20) I retired from dentistry!  I sold my building and found a nice, young dentist to assume my practice.  After forty years of doing dentistry it was time for me to move on to other activities.

Lake Keith pulled me to the coast for a very good kayak bay fishing trip.  I caught mostly redfish which I love, but I also caught my career best speckled trout and a keeper flounder.

I had a great fly fishing trip for Rainbow and Brown Trout on the Pecos River in New Mexico.  The Pecos River is recovering from the devastating “Tres Lagunas” fire of two years ago.  It was encouraging to know this beautiful river will recover.

All of these trips are stories I hope I can come back to,  but the story I want to put in with you here,  is one I am very excited about because this story is just twelve miles from my home – it’s the Neches River.

I received a report from Mike Reagan – Bowfin Mike, who also kayak fishes - about a trip he had on the Neches above Highway 175,  just out of Cuney, Texas.  Mike told me he and a friend paddled up from that put in to Flat Creek and fished their way back down.  They caught a large number of fish, documented with pictures.   

I had to go.  I sent Reagan’s report to David Capps who also kayak fishes,  so we decided to put in at Hwy. 175 and make that trip up the Neches.  We met at the put in to witness a beautiful sunrise over the Neches River.

Instead of paddling up and fishing back, we fished up and back. We would stop at a hole and catch a few,  then paddle up to the next hole.  The catching was unbelievable!  I only used a small (1/8 oz.) lipless crank bait, a red rattletrap. I was using a spinning reel & rod.  Surprisingly I only lost one bait with a brush hook up.

The variety of species was amazing!  The specie we caught most was Sunfish with a bright red color (Redbreast Sunfish).  I think that is why a red lure worked so well.  We also caught some Kentucky Spotted Bass.  These are plump bass that are similar to Largemouth Bass but have a smaller mouth that does not extend to the eye; have lines of spots that extend across on the belly.  This specie is also called Smallmouth Bass and Redeye Bass but they are not the true Smallmouth Bass.

I also caught a Striped Bass, White bass and Largemouth Bass. Overall both of us caught about 40 fish each!  I told you the numbers and variety of species was amazing.

There were many Gar species rolling where we were fishing.  Sometimes they would give our lures a look but the only hook up we had with Gar was when I foul hooked a big one on its tail.  This one pulled my kayak around until the hook pulled out; that was a trip!

Think about this – we had massive spring rains that created an overflow of the Neches River for several weeks.  Where were these fish during that event?  Just up from where we were fishing is the Lake Palestine dam.  I don’t think the fish we were catching came from Lake Palestine.  I think they were there, in the Neches River, maintaining their position in the current of the floods.

These fish were numerous, healthy and hungry – a great situation for this fisherman – that is why I was so excited about this trip and it was right here on the historic Neches River.

Until we put in again,

Next up: Florida Gulf Surf Fishing

The Launch Event for the Cherokee Neches State Paddling Trail is scheduled for October 17, 2015, starting at 11:00 am at Neches River Run Park.  SAVE THE DATE!!

Striped Bass
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS
Spotted Bass
Photo by Michael Banks, DDS