Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Up the Creek

The wind has been incessant and exceptionally strong this season, making boat handling exhausting and fishing challenging in Carancahua Bay. This has provoked me to seek more sheltered waters up-stream. As a result, through exploration of Carancahua Creek, I have greatly expanded my range and knowledge of the area.

Carancahua Creek is divided into two forks, appropriately named 'East' and 'West'. I have yet to explore the Western fork, but it is high on my list of things to do. Learning to navigate the mouth of the creek where it empties into the upper reaches of Carancahua Bay was my first challenge. The waters are not well marked, and there are some treacherous shallows and hidden dangers to navigate around. I won't divulge the best route to take, because part of the beauty of the creek is the very limited boat traffic. In fact, with the exception of a few small private boat launches, the only way to get up-stream is to learn how to access it from the bay. My only advice is to take it slow and careful, and unless you have a very shallow drafting boat you definitely need to be aware of the tides. It will be a long walk through knee-deep mud if you get stuck. If you can figure it out, have at it - the boat handling skills required to get up-stream are useful skills to have and you will have earned the right to explore these waters.

Once you get past the long shallow delta at the mouth of the creek, you are rewarded with a deep and clear channel that goes for many miles. I have found some holes in upper parts of the creek that are greater than 25 feet deep!

The water is clean and clear, and the wildlife is abundant. I have caught trout, redfish, and flounder, as well as many hard-heads, gafftops, and the occasional big blue catfish. There are also giant gar. My neighbor snagged one that must have weighed 40lbs! Be careful about wade fishing, or getting out of the boat. I once had a close-encounter with a 9 foot alligator!

The upper parts of the creek are deep and shaded by many large over-reaching trees that make the air cool and comfortable. There are countless species of birds, some of which I have never seen or heard anywhere else. The air is alive with the sounds of both strange and familiar bird-song.

If you ever get an opportunity to go up-stream on Carancahua Creek, I highly recommend it. This is one of the many hidden gems that make coastal living so enjoyable.

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