Today, my husband and I decided to make our "maiden voyage" in our recently purchased kayaks. We both enjoy fishing but don't want the hassle of a big boat AND the places we want to fish are usually rivers and coves where boats can't go. So, our goal for today was to get comfortable with navigating our kayaks and getting a feel for how to manage our fishing gear.
We have been surfing the internet and viewing every kayaking website we can find as well as reading all the information that the Texas State Park website had to offer. After some discussion, we decided that it would be best to pick a nearby lake or stream that would offer us some degree of accessibility to get our kayaks from the truck to the water, some degree of calmness (boaters equals wakes equals the potential for flipping over), and some degree of danger free water (no e.coli, alligators, rebar protrusions and the like). So . . . we decided on Lake Texana which is located a little north of Edna, Texas.
As we traveled south on US 59, we approached the bridge that crossed the portion of the lake that meets with the Navidad River. As we crossed the bridge, I began to scan the horizon (it was about 8:30am) and I suddenly locked in on what appeared to be an alligator! I quickly informed my husband of what I thought I saw. He assured me that it probably wasn't an alligator but more likely, a floating log. Nope. It was an alligator. I was sure.
We finally made it to the Lake Texana State Park, where we entered the Park office to purchase an annual State Park pass, and as we were doing so, I noticed a brochure on the counter entitled "Alligators". Hmmmm. So, I commented "Oh, this looks interesting," as I picked up the brochure. The park employee then proceeded to explain that Lake Texana does have its share of alligators, in fact they intentionally stocked the lake with alligators. What!!! Can someone tell me why this was so necessary?
Anyway, she went on to explain that the alligator most people see is the one located at the boat/canoe/kayak ramp. Greeeeaaaattt. Without me stabbing my husband in the side or giving him the look that says "oh, right, a floating log", I very politely asked the lady, "Well, are there any other places to launch a kayak?" And of course, there were but we would still need to keep an eye out for other alligators.
Before going to the far end of the park, we decided to see if the alligator at the boat ramp really existed. And the answer is .....YES HE DOES, and so do a couple of other alligators of various sizes. So to the far end of the park we went without hesitation.
At the far end of the park, where a lot of campers had decided to set up camp, there was a parking area at the very end. It was on the far side of the peninsula, opposite the last fishing pier in the cove (which seemed to invite alligators), that we were able to find a tiny but sandy beach area to launch our kayaks. This area was quite some distance from any fishing pier and appeared to be free of alligators.
So, we launched our kayaks and headed for the bridge underpass. The lake was very calm and it was absolutely delightful to feel the morning air. As we approached the bridge underpass, a sizeable fish leaped out of the water and a school a shad scattered. This was looking good. I quickly strapped my oar to the side of my kayak and began preparing my rod and reel. I attached a lure that looks just like a live minnow and put it on a line with a cork located at about 4 to 5 feel from the lure. I set my line and then gave the lure a couple of tugs (got to make it look alive) and then Bam! I caught a fish! I tried to quickly refresh my fishing skills in my head - don't tug too hard, let it swim a little, slowing reel it in. But, I DID tug too hard and snap! my line broke. The Big Fish that Got Away again.
While I was enjoying my cheap thrill, I could hear my husband in the distance talking. His reel was knotted up, his rear was getting numb, his kayak was taking on water because his scuppers weren't holding, the UV-ray protective shirt that he had on was too hot under his life jacket. I was sad for him. He had been so excited about taking on a new adventure and this was not that much fun for him.
So, after about an hour and a half of trying out our gear, we headed back for shore. We are able to sum up today's trip like this . . . There are alligators at Lake Texana BUT, even if you are trying out a new kayak, it's not a bad place to give it a whirl. The water was relatively calm and the lake was easy to navigate. Fishing under the bridge has potential. We did in fact come home with ideas of what to do different next time. And if you catch a fish with a lure in its mouth that looks like a minnow, you can have it.
The accommodations appeared to be standard for a Texas State Park. Restrooms, water, snacks in the park office.
I think the fee was $3.00 per person per day.
Take Highway 59 South out of Houston going towards Victoria. Take the Edna exit. Go left on Hwy 111. Go about 7 miles (watch your odometer, because there is no warning, just boom, there's the sign to the entrance of the park).
We used the lake map that was given to us at the park office. It was very helpful especially for identifying where the alligators seemed to be hanging out.