Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: angelina river

Hunting in Seasonally Blocked River Sloughs

Angelina River Jasper Texas

For years I have wanted to go hunting in a slough off a local river. The problem: The area is blocked by lily pads from spring until after the first couple of frost. Typically by the start of December the lily pads have died back enough for a small boat to get through.

My boat is a flat bottom aluminum boat with a 30 horsepower Evinrude and trolling motor. It does very well in stump filled river sloughs. Typically, people with fiberglass boats avoid river sloughs which are filled with stumps barely below the water.

The area is so far off the beaten path chances are very few, if anyone hunts the area. From what I have seen over the years, people who hunt on public hunting lands next to a river, the hunters stay near the main river channel. Some may venture into a slough, but not very far. Having fished the Angelina River for over a decade, I have never seen anyone deep in a slough deer hunting. Being on the main river channel means the hunters can stay in the stand until dark, then navigate the main river back to the boat launch, or to a designated camp site.

Designated camp sites brings up another topic – No camping is allowed in the area where I want to go hunting.

June 2018 Fishing Trip on the Angelina River – A Short Story

Southeast Texas alligator

The day started a little earlier than others when the alarm went off at 5:00 am. As soon as the alarm went off a war of attrition began in my head. One voice was talking about how comfortable the bed was and to forget about the fishing trip. The other voice was telling me to get up and go because in a few weeks the full brunt of the Texas heat will be here.

Realizing in another three or four weeks the July heat wave will be upon us, I decided to crawl (though reluctantly) out of bed and head to the shower. There is something refreshing about getting a morning shower.

Attire for the day was Levis jeans, green Carhart shirt, and Justin leather work boots. Typically, I wear shorts and sneakers on fishing trips, but this trip was different. Part of this trip was for pictures and videos. Rather than walking through a swampy area with sneakers, to decided to wear boots.

All of the gear had been loaded in either the Toyota T100 truck, or in the Weldbilt aluminum boat the night before. All that needed to be done was take a shower, get dressed, grab my everyday carry gear, and head out the door. I had wanted to leave the house around 5:30, but was able to leave around 5:20 or so.

Driving to the Angelina River

A Lesson In Having Navigational Gear Close At Hand

Evinrude 30 HP outboard motor on the Neches River near Jasper, Texas

While my son and I were fishing on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas, I learned a lesson on having navigational gear close at hand. What happened was, we followed a slough until it came to a main waterway.

There were a couple of issues:

  • The waterway was overgrown with lily pads.
  • There were several connecting paths.
  • We needed a certain path to get back to the boat launch.
  • Using Google Earth I knew we needed to head East.
  • The time was 1:00 pm and shadows were straight down.
  • Neither my backpack, or the boat survival kit had a compass.
  • All I needed was a simple compass to know which direction was East.

My son and I were at an intersection with around five routes we could take. Due to the lily pads the boat had limited mobility. The motor had to be pulled up every few minutes to clean the lily pads off.

What we ended up doing was driving the boat in one direction, then checking Google earth with my phone. Eventually I was put on the correct path and back to the boat launch we went.

Navigational Gear

Been Working on the Boat for Summer Fishing

Boating on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

Something I dearly love about spring, but was skipped this year, and that is going out on the boat. In March and April we had something like six weeks straight where it rained every weekend. It seemed like as soon as the rain stopped, the heat started.

Here it is mid-May, and it seems summer has arrived with a vengeance. Here we are in mid-May and daytime temps are in the low 90s. Where did spring go? I thought we were suppose to ease into the summer heat. It seems like only a few days ago daytime temps were in the 70s. Then again, this is Texas.

For one reason or another I have been putting off working on the boat. Last time it was in the water was two years ago, which is a shame. In all honesty, I love being out on the water. It seems like in only 20 – 30 minutes someone can go back 10,000 years in time.

I usually put the boat in at the Bevil Port boat launch of hwy 63 just north of Jasper, Texas. Once the boat is in the water, I head south on the Angelina River to Bee Tree Slough. Bee Tree Slough seems like time rolls back to the stone age.

Summer Fishing

Disrespect For Nature

Bee Tree Slough Jasper Texas

Friday April 25, 2014 my daughter and I went fishing on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas. We left the house around 7:30am, went to the Exxon gas station at the intersection of HWY 96 and HWY 190 for a bag of ice, went to the donut shop on HWY 190 then headed to Bevil Port.

For breakfast my daughter got a large kolache while I got a ham, egg and cheese croissant. While at the donut shop I asked my daughter if she wanted a chocolate milk to drink. She promptly replied she was not three years old anymore. I smiled, gave her a hug, and told her something like “nope, you are not three years old anymore.” Kids grow up so fast it seems time flies by.

The launch at Bevil Port was typical. Pull the boat around, unstrap, make sure the plug is in, load tackle box, life jackets, 5 gallon bucket of noodles, then pull around and back the boat down. The starter switch on the motor is going out, so I had to use the pull rope to crank the motor.

After a couple of pulls that Evinrude 30 fired up and off we went.

Trash on the river

Drawback to Remote Primitive Camping Sites

Remote camping site on the Angelina River

One of the major drawbacks to remote primitive camping sites, you never know what idiot you are going to end up next to.

November 24, 2012 a buddy of mine and I headed out to the Angelina river close to Jasper Texas to do some camping. These are primitive camping sites that are only available by boat.

We arrived at the camping site, set the tents up, then headed out to the river to do some fishing. Just before the juglines were set out, I got a call on my phone saying my son-in-law and his hunting buddies caught a hog in the river bottom. The dogs had chased the hog a long way from the boat, and they needed some help. But that is another story.

After helping my son-in-law and his hunting party pack the hog back to the boat, my buddy and I headed back to our camping site.

By the time we got back to the camping site we only had about one hour of light left. We broke out the camp stoves, cooked a quick meal of Mountain House freeze dried foods, then started the camp fire.

Shooting Into The Night

Fishing Trip October 2012 On The Angelina River

Boat loaded up and ready to go

Man oh man, what a day. Long story short, my wife (her name is Kristy) and I went fishing on the Angelina river south of Bevil Port, which is close to Jasper Texas. We caught some fish and had a great time.

Now for the rest of the story

Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn, Kristy and I decided to sleep late. A cool front pushed through Wednesday October 17, which dropped the morning temp down to 47 degrees. We did not want to deal with temps in the upper 40s, so we waited a little late in morning to head out.

Kristy got up and did our usual morning routine, which includes a shower, brushing teeth, getting dressed,,, just your typical stuff.

For breakfast Kristy fixed me a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. The egg came from our chickens.

The boat was hooked to the truck and the gear was loaded up. For this trip I brought my Maxpedition Condor II, 2 closed face reels, one open face reel, 16 noodles, Igloo marine ice chest, tackle box, catfish bucket, collapsible cooler, and a pair of shorts for Kristy and I to change into when the weather warmed up.

Usually, Kristy and I will make a trip to a corner store down the road from our house to buy a couple of bags of ice for the Igloo marine icechest. Instead of buying ice, Kristy put our drinks, sandwich stuff and snacks into the collapsible cooler, then put the collapsible cooler into the Igloo marine ice chest.

Load Out for a River Camping Trip

Boating on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

As the river trip inches closer, its time to start thinking about the loadout I want to bring. There are going to be 4 people spread out over 2 boats. Due to the distance we are traveling, over 10 miles, weight is going to be a factor. The heavier the boats are loaded down, the worse the gas mileage.

This is going to be a warm weather trip, so the heavy sleeping bag can be left at home. There will be no need for coats, gloves, cold weather head gear, cold weather boots,,, nothing like that.

For this river camping trip I am going to try to keep the gear down to a minimum. Not a “bare” minimum, just not carry a lot of excess gear.

Medium or Large Alice Pack – if you want to limit the amount of gear you can carry, start with the pack. The larger the pack, the more likely you are to take stuff you may not need.

For the past couple of river camping trips I have brought my large Molle pack. For this river trip I am going to go back to basics with the Alice pack.

When packing my gear I am going to start out with the Medium Alice pack. If I run out of room I will grab the Large Alice pack.

A Weekend Of Fishing On The Angelina River

Jugline fishing

This past weekend was one of those weekends that seems like a blur. I spent 3 days out on the Angelina River running trotlines, juglines and fishing.

Long story short – Friday afternoon, get the trotlines and juglines ready; Friday evening go put the juglines and trotlines out, check everything Saturday morning, go back Saturday evening, check and rebait the trotline, put the juglines out, Sunday go check everything again, pick the trotline up, pick up the juglines, go fishing, get home Sunday around noon.

Now for the rest of the story.

Over the past week I had been making up some trotlines in the backyard. The local china-mart sells spools of trotline string with a 330 pound tinsel strength, this is what makes up the main beam of the trotline.

So I started off by measuring out 2 double arm lengths of string, which equals out to about 8 feet, tie a loop knot about 3 – 4 inches long, measure off about 8 feet, tie another loop knot, measure off about another 8 feet, another loop knot,,, repeat until I had about 120 of line.

Going Out on the Angelina River

Weldbilt boat on the Angelina River

Last Saturday my wife and I went out on the Angelina River south of Lake Sam Rayburn for a day of fishing and relaxation. Long story short, it was hot, my wife got sunburned, and she caught the only fish of the day.

I don’t know what it is, but the fish just were not biting. The fish were not biting pumpkin seed worms in a Texas rig, nor were they biting a beetle spin. The only thing we even got a nibble on was a worm on a perch hook.

The boating trip really started on Friday. The boat was uncovered, the battery charged, rods pulled out of the closet, and some drop lines were made up. One thing that I wanted to try Saturday was some drop lines.

So I went to wal-mart, bought a couple of noodles that most people keep in their swimming pools. The noodle measured something like 56 inches long. In the end, I had 8 noodles measuring 7 inches long.

3 Day Camping Trip On The Angelina River

camping angelina river jasper texas

It all started several months ago when I was telling my buddy about the undeveloped / primitive camping spots on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas. Years ago we used to go camping along the bayous and marshes around Bridge City and Orangefield, Texas. But we have not done that in several years. So after talking for a little bit, we decided to take a camping trip on the Angelina River.

Back in early November, a date of November 29 – December 1 was picked. The permit was submitted and the site was reserved.

November 26, 2010

My daughter and I took the boat out to make sure that it would run ok for the camping trip, and to check on the site my buddy and I were going to be using. The site we had reserved was occupied on November 26th so my daughter and I could not stop and take a look at it. We just turned around, and headed back home. The boat ran fine, so there were no worries there.

November 28, 2010

My wife and I drop my kids off at my moms house where my ex-wife will pick them up. From there, my wife and I head over to my buddies house, visit for a little while, then he rides back to my house with my wife and I. Instead of him making the drive to my house Monday, we just picked him up on the way back home.

Planning a hunting camping trip on the river

boat angelina riverA buddy of mine called last night and asked if I wanted to go on a camping / hunting trip on the Angelina River sometime soon. My answer was “of course”.

I’am not going to disclose the exact location or dates until after the fact.

The plan involves getting one of the primitive camping spots on the Angelina River close to Jasper, Texas and go hunting in the public hunting lands. When I bought my hunting license, I also bought a fishing and public hunting lands permit. Being on the river would give me the chance to do some fishing, camping, and all kinds of hunting.

The trip will probably span 2 – 3 days.

Now I just have to get a map of the public hunting land available where we are going camping. When I bought my public hunting lands license, a few days later I received a hand book with maps of the entire state of Texas. The hand book showed where the public hunting lands are at.

Giving back to the community

angelina river jasper texasHow often do you give something back to your community? The other day I was watching one of those Law and Order shows on TV. Someone on the show made and interesting statement, it went something like this – “the same people that dodge military service, usually dodge jury duty.” I don’t know if that statement is true and correct, but it does bring out a sub-culture of American citizens that do not serve their nation in any shape, form, or fashion.

Another Trip To The Angelina River

Angelina River Fishing

It was one of those trips that I have been wanting to make for a long time. The day before (July 9, 2010) I took the time to get everything ready – the gas cans were fueled up, the poles and tackle boxes were set next to the front door, the day packs were filled with fresh water, first aid kit, an Eversafe Meal, ice chest put in the boat… and a few more things were made ready.

The alarm clock went off around 5:45am – but I stayed in bed for a little bit. Got up, got my shower, brushed teeth, deodorant (you do not want body order while fishing), then I went into my sons room to wake him up.

While my son was getting his shower, and taking care of his business, I loaded the tackle boxes, poles and day packs in the boat.

We launched the boat at a place called “BevilPort” – which is off Farm to Market Road 2799, just Northwest of Jasper, Texas. As we were leaving the boat launch and heading south on the Angelina River, the sun started to break though the tree line.

It was a beautiful and memorial morning.

July 25 Trip to the Angelina River

The day started off kinda early (for a Saturday anyway). The plans were for my son and I to get up around the crack of dawn, get a shower, get something to eat and head out. But things did not work out that way. Instead of getting on the river around 6am, it was more like 8:30. But even if we got a late start, it was still a beautiful day, the gators were out and the fish were biting.

We launched the boat at Bevilport, which is a public boat launch off Highway 63. Coming from Jasper, Texas, you turn left at the VFW sign, then drive for about 4 – 5 miles. On the way your going to pass some nice looking fields with traces of old pecan tree plantations. There is one rather large field where the cows share the shade provided by a few oak and pine trees.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018