With a quick flick of the wrist, baited lines arc through the air and plunk into the still waters of Lake Conroe. Stretching from a boat along the bulkheaded shoreline, those lines soon dip with the weight of bites. Various species of bass, as well as catfish, bream, crappie, and hungry scuba divers nibble away as anglers receive reel them in under the instruction of Just Fun Fishing Adventures' licensed guides. These guides also provide all the necessary equipment so anglers need only bring food and drink.
The Sam Houston National Forest lines the north end of the shoreline, treating passengers to sweeping views of wildlife, including ospreys, buffleheads, loons, and occasional bald eagles. As such, Just Fun Fishing Adventures offers half-day bird-watching tours to help interested parties get closer to the airborne action.
Largemouth and guadalupe bass fin through the Colorado River rapids while birds soar above river islands and swimmer-friendly sandbars. Moored in a nook along this artery, Texas native and outdoor enthusiast Danny Walker—known as “Pops”—and his son—“Dan the Man Omega Mega”—equip adventurers by renting regular, tandem, and fishing kayaks, as well as standup paddleboards, from MOC Kayaks. To elevate river adventures from Huck Finn–style floating to Rambo-style hunting, pros outfit customers with fishing poles and tackle, sending them off to catch some of the river's more than 20 varieties of perch. For those who'd rather drop their lines in stiller waters, MOC Kayaks takes paddlers to Lake Travis and Lake Austin, and those who seek coaching on how to catch finned bounty can take advantage of guided trips. Dedicated adventurers can also buy their own kayaks to craft custom adventures or to take home and paddle around neighbors' pools.
Ski Chalet proffers the latest in snow-slicing technology with professional in-shop services and top-flight gear. Prep your skis for mountain season with a thorough tune-up, which delights snow gliders with an indulgent stone grind, bevel, and hot-wax treatment before whispering inspirational quotes in their ears and sending them back to the slopes. Lift loafers can peruse skis, boots, bindings, and poles in the pro shop, or they can complete a preexisting mountain-defeating arsenal with protective wear like GoreTex-laced gloves ($64.95) or ear warmers ($30). Newer skiers can count on friendly, helpful service to pair them with appropriate equipment.
An angler of redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and tripletail on the Matagorda Bay and Colorado River for more than a quarter century, Knee Deep Fishing's Captain Ciruti shares fishing wisdom during guided trips. The captain provides all gear on drifting trips, welcoming anglers aboard his 22-foot Gulf Coast boat powered by a 200-HP Suzuki engine and hundreds of bubbles blown by harnessed trout. For fishermen with their own rods and wading boots, Ciruti leads walk-and-wade excursions into shallow flats and along coastlines.
To accommodate nature admirers and history buffs, Ciruti also charters eco tours to illuminate the history, layout, and wildlife of the bay and its surrounding waterways. Skyward glances may yield views of pelicans, herons, and eagles, and below, land-bound creatures such as deer, hogs, and coyotes may make appearances along the banks.
Designed to accommodate everything from family outings to hunting practice, Clay Mound Sporting Center comprises two sporting-clays courses and a five-stand setup. More than 40 Promatic machines??including 4 Rabbit-Chondel combination throwers, 3 battues, and 37 standards, work with wireless controllers so guests and instructors can set them from the course. In addition to fishing and hunting onsite, the staff also maintains a fire pit and picnic area and an air-conditioned event facility.
Some of Marshall Hosea's earliest memories involve water lapping gently about the ankles of his oversized boots as he waded into a river or creek for some classic fly-fishing with his father and grandfather. What started as a childhood pastime became a lifelong passion, and Marshall began experimenting with all kinds of boats to enhance his fishing experience. He loved feeling close to nature and the water as he cast lines and baited hooks, and he found the kayak offered him the best experience. As a bonus, the paddle-driven craft left no trace upon the natural beauty he so loved.
Now, he teaches others the joy of kayaking and fishing as the owner and head guide of Texas Kayak Guide. He takes passengers down rivers and creeks, or skimming across bayous and bays, showing them raccoons hunting shellfish, osprey darting into the water to snatch fish, and porpoises swimming alongside the quiet craft. While on the water, he also teaches the finer points of fishing, including everything from how to spot a fish to changing one's tactics to match the seasonal behavior of one's prey.