GOING OFF GRID

July 12, 2021

GOING OFF GRID: FISHING AND CAMPING REMOTELY

Texas kayak fisher and his wife posing infront of some rapids

Me and my wife have been planning a trip to go off grid with my overland camping trailer for quite some time. The idea was to go somewhere remote, with clear water, good fishing, and the potential to snorkel some.

We found a great spot to go and spent a little over two full days off grid!

This trip started out with getting my trailer all prepped. Filling up my ARB Elements fridge with food and drinks, filling up my water tank, and ensuring my solar system was working as it should be. All of my fishing gear, photography gear, and related camping gear was loaded up among my 4Runner and trailer…and we were off.

We found a great spot to go and spent a little over two full days off grid!
Truck loaded with kayaks and paddleboards for an off grid adventure

The trail to the river consisted of gravel roads that started off relatively smooth, but deteriorated more and more as we continued to travel.

Eventually, we reached our base camp location at which we parked my trailer. After unhooking the trailer and doing a preliminary base camp setup we headed to the water to begin day 1!

DAY 1

The start of day one on the water was windy… as was all of day 1. We had winds in the 12-15 mph range with gusts up to 20-25 mph. This proved to be quite a challenge for fishing. I took on day 1 with my Old Town Canoe Topwater 120. Believe it or not, this was the maiden voyage for the Topwater 120! I know there was a risk associated with taking a kayak I have never even paddled out to a remote location for 2 days, but I placed my trust in the quality that Old Town provides in all of their products. My wife was paddling the Pau Hana Big EZ Angler, which is my favorite SUP for fishing.

woman paddling the Big EZ Angler stand up paddleboard

The wind made fishing very rough for both of us, but in particular, it is hard to fish a Texas rigged creature bait when the wind is blowing hard. Nonetheless, we caught a few fish!

My wife was the first to land some fish, as she caught a few small bass relatively quickly. They were small rascals, but they certainly are a blast to catch on the ultralight spinning setup she was using.

Woman holding a fish caught on the Big EZ Angler stand up paddleboard

Eventually, I caught a great bass to start off with. I casted my Rage Tail Rage Bug into a hole in some vegetation. You see, often times bass will be in these holes, and if they aren’t in the holes they are very close by….waiting for some food to move by.

Once my lure hit the water and started to sink I saw a bass come out from the shadows. This fish took interest, but was just curious at the time. I decided to do a few quick twitches to bring life to my Texas rig, and the bass bit!

Bass fish caught on a sit on top kayak

He put up an honorable fight that was well worth it. This bass was right around 2 lbs., which in my opinion is an awesome fish to catch. By no means was he a monster, but a good solid bass…especially on a windy day.

Me and my wife continued to search for fish, but the wind and a front that had moved in made fishing quite rough. We decided it was time to switch gears and put on the snorkeling equipment.

Neither me or my wife have snorkeled a lot, but I have gone about 5-6 times and loved each and ever one of them.

We dove into the water with our gear and were amazed with the abundance of fish and the incredible ecosystem. The variety of fish, vegetation, turtles, and natural springs that you could see bubbling into the river, providing 100% of this rivers water was truly amazing.

There were a few big bass that we stumbled across while snorkeling and I started to think of how we could catch them given the windy conditions. We snorkeled for about 30-45 minutes and then decided to give fishing a shot again.

We continued to fish the rest of the evening as the sun began to set and darkness set in. There were a few small fish caught, but nothing too big. My wife caught a few more Laregemouth Bass off of her Pau Hana Big EZ Angler, but nothing that would be setting records. Nonetheless, it was awesome to catch these fish out in the wild, and especially off of a SUP!

Fishing from the Pau Hana Big EZ Angler paddleboard

While the fishing wasn’t too hot this first day, the temperatures certainly were, and the scenery was amazing. It was a great start to our trip. The landscape certainly was beautiful as the sun was dropping to the horizon. We made our way back to the banks of the river where our take out location was. We began to load up all of our gear so we could start to make our way towards base camp. As we got ready we had some awesome views surrounding us.

Beautiful colors on the bluff at sunset

The colors among the bluffs were amazing!

DAY 2

Day 2 came along after a good nights of sleep in my overlanding trailer (or should I say on top of my overlanding trailer) and we were both ready to go fish and explore some more! First, we loaded up on water and gear. My Klean Kanteens were filled up with cold, refreshing water thanks to my ARB Elements Fridge. After we loaded up with snacks, water, and gear we went to the water.

My wife started out the day with the Pau Hana Big EZ Angler, propelling herself through the water with an Aquabound Malta Carbon paddle.

Catching fish using the Pau Hana Big EZ Angler fishing paddleboard

I know I’ve said it many times, but I can’t emphasize how good of a SUP the Big EZ Angler is. It is incredibly stable and maneuvers very well. I know I’ve been very pleased with it and so has my wife.

We spent the first part of day 2 paddling and exploring the river. It was very tempting to make a few casts for some fish, but I wanted to take in the scenery and enjoy the paddling experience. It was quite an awesome experience too.

As we progressed further downstream we came to a small section of rapids. By no means was this a big section of rapids, but I thought it would be a good location for my wife to practice going through rapids. We switched gear and she hopped on the Old Town Topwater 120 and grabbed my Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon to prepare for the chute.

She got lined up and went for it! A little wet from the splash, but the Topwater 120 handled the rapids beautifully and all went well.

These rapids were an awesome start for Katy to get her feet wet in a little bit of whitewater. I think the Topwater 120 will be an excellent boat for running water. The rapids were not only some good fun, but led the way to an iconic feature of this river - Dolan Falls.

Dolan Falls is definitely one of the landmark locations on this river, and for good reason. The amazing rock formations, rushing water, and simply beautiful view of the clear water is quite a site.

The neat thing about Dolan Falls is all the small rapids that lead up to the waterfall. While the waterfall takes main stage, all of the rapids feeding this waterfall are amazing to see.

I truly find the running water over the Texas rocky landscape breathtaking. It is even that much better that I got to see it with my wife.

Tackling rapids on a sit-on-top kayak

Dolan Falls is an awesome spot to go to, but we couldn’t stay here all day. We had to continue our journey.

Katy took the Topwater 120 and I took the Big EZ Angler for a while. We like to switch it up sometimes so that we can both get a chance to kayak and SUP, because the kayak and SUP have different, unique aspects about them.

The Big EZ Angler takes a little more skill and is more athletic by nature. Paddling the Topwater 120 is, for a lack of better words, easy. While easy might sound bad, it is a really good thing. The Topwater 120 is effotless to paddle and does what you want it to. You can just sit back and paddle slowly, or position the adjustable chair in a more athletic position to provide powerful strokes of the paddle.

I really enjoy paddling my Big EZ Angler though. It provides an awesome vantage point for fishing and looking into the water. On top of this, it is just fun! Standing and paddling is a great combination. While I do think the Big EZ Angler and Topwater 120 have their individual strengths and weaknesses, they offer some awesome capabilities and experiences to anyone who paddles them, so you can count on me continuing to paddle these two boats for quite a while.

Me and Katy paddled quite a ways back upstream to a pool that was upstream of some rapids. I was hoping this pool would have some big bass in it, as it historically has been a great location for me. However, there was not many fish to be found on this day!

I really was a little disapointed with the lack of fishing, but I couldn’t seem to find a lure that enticed the bass on this particular day. Usually I can get a Rage Tail Structure Bug, or a Zoom Fluke to catch something, but it just wasn’t happening. The only catch we were getting was some more scenery…which was awesome!

Catching fish using the Pau Hana Big EZ Angler fishing paddleboard

We wouldn’t go on to catch many more fish on this trip (especially any big fish). We did catch a few bass here and there, but they were all small bass, primarily 8-inches are less. This was okay though, as it was really enjoyable just paddling through the clear water and taking in the scenery.

We decided that for this last day of our off grid adventure we would head back to base camp a little early to relax and cook some food…so that’s just what we did. My wife paddled in on the Topwater 120 and I on my Big EZ Angler. It was hard to leave such an amazing river, but the good news is I know I’ll be coming back, many times!

Once at our camp, we got prepared to cook chicken fajitas. I can’t think of a better meal to end the day on. We were both pretty wore out from spending a long day out on the water, so some fajitas, cold drinks (thanks to the ARB Elements Fridge), and some smores for dessert was just what we needed.

All things considered, the fishing on this trip was not as good as expected or as it has historically been. However, the scenery, water, and time I got to spend with my wife out in the wild was awesome.

It was great to take my 4Runner, trailer, and all of my fishing gear to a location that would truly put everything to use as intended. Often, I have gear that can handle way more than it ever will, but this location certainly puts all of my gear through a little extra testing. Luckily, everything held up great and performed as anticipated.

This was an awesome trip, and I can’t wait to come back again!

CHECK OUT OUR GALLERY

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