Thursday, April 30, 2015

Funny Video for Streamer Lovers

Hey, I like fishing dainty dries, wet's and other little flies or "classics"... but every now and then, tossing meat is fun.

This video is way to funny regarding the challenges of Streamer fishing...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

4-28 Lunch Break

I shot out to a nice little stream about 15' away yesterday at lunch.  It's that time of year, where, if I can, I do this.  Sitting by a stream is when some of my best problem solving and idea creation opportunities occur.  Lucky for me, the stream was hopping the other day and many wild brookies came to hand.  All fish fell for a modified version of Don Bastian's Picket Pin streamer.  This is not really all that similar to the original picket pin, it's a rust hackle tail, a silver tinsel body with no palmered hackle, a squirrel tail wing with a rust hackle throat and peacock hearl "head".  Let swung, then jigged in the current at the end of the drift... the little char just had to have a go!

About 1 foot in front of this hemlock is almost a lock.  Nearly every trip to this stream Ill catch a trout there...

And this day was no exception to that "rule" :)

Such pretty little fish... Pretty pretty pretty!

That nice bit of current to the left of the rock's there was a spot where a few trout came to hand, and a few others were lost.  They really like that ambush spot.

I'd hoped to go further up stream, where there are some awesome pools, and a great "run" of broken water.  There is also a nice, cold feeder stream.  I've never tried to fish the feeder, it's only a foot wide, but clearly spring fed given it always has water.  Next time...

I always think Ill catch a trout under this log, and never do.  Not sure if it's the fairly skinny water (5" deep or so in that spot) or just my lack of skill.  Ill probably never stop trying it out though... eventually it should work right :)?

When I got home, prior to getting back to work, it was time to spray down my camo for Turkey season which started here Monday morning.  I use a spray containing Permithrin that was suggested to me by a wildlife biologist / Photographer friend.  It's evil stuff, but, so is lyme disease, so I do it.  You spray your gear, let it dry, and it will last on your clothes for up to 6 washes.  Does it work?

I've never had a tick even climbing on me while wearing it during turkey or archery deer season.  In my experience, it's the best thing going if your really going to be in "ticky" areas.  There are a few brands, but the one I've been using is called "Sawyers".  It's worth every penny!

Have a great day!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Florida on the Fly

Every year we try to go down and visit my Mother In Law in the St Pete area of FL for a week.  I tend to work while there (such is the life of a coach - you're never "off"), play with the kiddo's as much as possible and try to fish in the evening after they hit the sack.  This year was no different... though I added to my normal saltwater flies with the flies I've been posting about lately... here is the box prior to the trip...

Here's the view from my mother in law's parking deck.  One good double haul and  your fly is in the waters of Boca Siega bay, which is a neat area of water off the western side of Tampa bay from the Gulf of Mexico by a slim strip of land called St Pete Beach.  You can see with Parking like this... that water access is not a problem :)

While you can walk to edge of the lawn and fish there (works well) I often walk over to a bridge on the edge of the property - maybe a quarter mile.  The walk is on a quiet road next to a golf course, before getting on the golf cart path to get below the bridge.  The bridge is great, because of some of the footings and the way it's base channels current.  It creates a fish highway.  Plus, you are likely to see anything.  For example, the last night we were there several large Ray's went by, a few sharks and a manatee.  I'd never seen the latter in the wild, and it was pretty impressive - what giant beasts!

Here's the first Snook of the trip.  It was easily the best snook trip I've ever had.  I lost count on night 2 after hitting 20.  It was just fantastic due to the early warmth they have had down there.   I snapped a quick pick while a fellow fisherman held him after helping me land him.  The snook I was catching were not giant, 20-30".  But let me tell you - like many salt water fish, a two foot fish on a fly is a heck of a battle!

This was a first.  As my clouser minnow cleared the edge between shallow and deep - a spot that corresponds to light and dark thanks to the golf cart path's lighting (something that draw's bait and thus, snook and other predators) - a weird fish shot in and ate the fly.  Weird only because I have not caught one on a fly before and I was shocked to pull up... a little flounder!  Crazy to do that on a fly - at least for me!

The fish below is a lady fish.  The one in the pick is about 26" long  I dont know why people act like these fish are "junk" fish.  I have found them to fight like mad and to take flies, but not easily.  I could catch these often and have a blast.  I learned this trip though that  when you see fish taking shrimp on a Florida night, if one sounds like a slurp it's a snook... if it sounds like a rip or slash it's a lady fish.  it got to the point, where, if I could launch my cast far enough, I could predict what I may catch some nights.  Slurp, land fly, snook.  Slash, land fly, lady fish.

This snook was not huge, but surprised me with an initial run, after a long cast from the bridge to a sandy point about 85 feet out to the north (side of the bridge, parallel with the current).  He ripped well into the backing after the take and jumped several times.  I thought he was a lot bigger until pulling him from the water :)  Thus, the photo op :)

 With good fishing reported, Rosemary decided to come down.  She has not been fly fishing much lately, so opted to use the spinning gear we have purchased and left in FL.  She started with a soft plastic shrimp, but then shifted to frozen shrimp and caught a bunch of snappers, an ocean catfish, lost a likely snook based on how it looked and caught her first speckled trout (in pic).  She was bummed she'd decided to sleep rather than coming down to fish on day's sooner.  

 Getting home is always good... but sad too.  Last night, after cleaning my 8wt and reel, I rinsed the flies, and will put them away tonight.  

Not sure when I'll fish the salt again... Probably this summer... but for now... It's time to hang with the family, work, take the MTB for a spin, do some trail running, turkey hunting and, break out the trout gear.

It's always funny to fish with the 2wt after a salt or warm water trip fishing with an 8 or 10wt :)... I'm looking forward to it though.

Be well

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fun weekend

The family had a good weekend.  Nice walk on the local rail trail started Sunday well.  As usual the little girl was off like a shot but faded at the end... 

While the boy had to play with every stick along the way "hunting deer monsters"... but still had gas in the tank when the walk was over.  He's a diesel engine like his dad... the girl child is shot out of a cannon, like her mom.

But, the trail goes past a lake we sometimes go fishing for blue gills and other sunfish with the kids.  the ice came off just yesterday, and the part of the pond on the other side of the trail was still ice covered - with no sign's of life in the water at all.  Today, the only plan was to throw rocks into the pond :)

That evening Rosemary had me go fishing to hit the reboot button before work.  I only had an hour, but it was enough to hit a local native stream about a 10' drive away.  The water was flowing well and clear as can be.

I always really liked this spot.  It fishes best with a little less flow - you often can entice a native brookie or wild brown to take in that seem between the two currents.

Just above here is a great elbow bend of a pool.  The winters ice washed out a root ball, but did still leave another in a new spot.  I lost a really sizeable fish based on the "flashes" but a few casts later got this nice little wild fish with vibrant spots and great blue halo's.

That smooth water and the right side bank just below my fly line is a really sweet spot to drift a dry... but today, nothing would be coaxed to rise... or take a swung fly.

I hope you all had a great weekend!
Be well - Will

Friday, April 10, 2015

Old brings new

I had literally 10-15' to hit a local stream today.  Just slipping it into my work day.  On went a trusted friend, an old calf tail royal coachmenesque streamer - #12 - that has always been a native finder for me.  This particular one though has just worked amazingly for so long.  The head is falling apart, the body has come undone... But it's caught more fish than I could count and managed to escape far to many snag's for any one fly... and it just keeps working.    That is the comfort of something old...

This stream flows into a major river here in MA.  That river once turned green or red or blue - depending on what color the paper mills were turning out that day.  The little stream comes off a steep hill which is home to other, more well known brookie streams... But those flow mostly through forests to the big river... This one drops into town, and it's final couple miles pass auto shops, factories, road ways, housing complexes etc.    You can get a sense from the debris that this is not your stereotypical "native" stream.  It's a darn good one though :)  Normally the fish I catch here come from that point top right, which funnels the current into a little trough.  But today, that root ball on the left was the spot...

I drifted a fly through the pool a few times with no follows or takes - that I could see at least.  First drift into the root ball and I saw this guy dart out, fin's flared and inhale the streamer.  A brief fight, and he was in hand.  Typical of this very clear stream, he was fairly blue and not overly colorful like some brookies from more tanic waters... still a beauty of a wild fish for sure!  And my first fish of the year, a new beginning!

 Enjoy getting out there folks!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The eyes have it

Took some time last night to do a few more salty flies (that will all double duty for freshwater bass for me too) last night for R and R... 

I'm a sucker for nice googly eyes on a streamer.  They just turn a fly into a FLY!    I love em.  These are CCG eyes on a 1/0 minnow pattern.  It's an inverted fly, so the wing helps it slip through grass well.

I really like those red lines I've been doing on clousers, and figured it would be fun to share some more.  These are in traditional "red in the middle" Carrie Steven's style... 

This was last nights work.  Some more Clousers in Electric Chicken color scheme and Olive over White - probably the best color ever for hair wing streamers - ok, in my opinion at least :).

The bottom two are the little minnow pattern I was describing initially.  They use Steve Farrar blend for the wing and body braid over a tungsten wrapped body.  They have a cool shine, yet translucence in the water and are practically indestructible.

 Hopefully I can hit a small stream some time soon... I'm going to check the trails at lunch today as well... Really missing time on the trails... I may have to invest in a "fat" bike next winter for riding snow mobile trails in an enjoyable way!

Be well

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Different ties...

I'm not a huge saltwater fisherman.  I enjoy it.  I have fun chasing stripers and blues here a few times a year... and I enjoy chasing the wide variety of fly eating fish when we go visit our mother in law in Florida.  Snook, red's, ladyfish, Jack's, buffalo, snapper, blue's, baby tarpon etc etc etc... all take flies and are super super fun to catch!

Recently I've been stocking my boxes for the occasions I get to chase all these salt water friends this year.  An encounter with an awesome blue fish school on a day I was steel leaderless last year "ate" far to many flies... It was worth it though - super fun stuff.

The result has been some crab's, shrimp and Clousers.  

Clousers are the streamer equivalent of the  Elk Hair Caddis or Bomber or Soft Hackle of the small stream or trout fisherman.  You just can not go wrong with Clouser's.  Fresh water, salt water, and literally any fish that swims in either will eat these things.  That's what's so cool... Going to a new area and not sure what might work - a Clouser will.

I've been bringing some "Rangely" fun to my Clouser's this year.  I like to use super strong thread on streamers, so I use GSP or mono.  these are GSP.  Rather than using multiple threads, I just break out a sharpie and dye about 3" of the thread to make the "rangely" style multi colored head.  A few coat's of CCG Hydro and it's a really strong head on these flies.

That said, I've also been doing Shminno's and a little streamer that's sort of a Deceiver variant I've evolved for small mouth bass or large mouth bass fishing.  It's a big marabou tail, then UV pearl body wrap and a two layer wing of DNA fish scale and DNA olive.  DNA wiggles like marabou, but has a little pearliness to it that's awesome in a streamer.  I add it to Shminno's too.  It's a great, and really versatile material if you have not used it.

I'm looking forward to mucking about the flat's next month in FL re-aquainting these patterns with fish... and to using them up here for fresh and saltwater bass in the coming months...

Ok, back to small streams... and soon, some posts about mountain biking again as well...
Be well

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Randomness... The C'mon Spring song...

Um, what's the date?  Yep, that pic is from a trip up the Pompeli Trail on Mt Monadonock in SW New Hampshire Sunday.  That's a great spot, your about to start a solid 20' long pitch that just goes up until cresting a beautiful ridge line that takes you to the summit about 2-2.5 miles further on.  I always liked this spot.  As an endurance junkie, knowing you get to climb a hill for a long ways further is soul food.  Maybe that sounds weird... But it's true.  

It's not the same mind centering situation that fly fishing is, but it's in the same family.  I'd suggest both are a lot like the concepts put forward via "insight meditation" where you use motion to find a center (way over simplified view).  To me, that complete focus on a drift or a cast or simply being immersed in the sound of running water is not different from hiking a hill, or mountain biking, or cycling or running or whatever.  You're just bringing yourself to a point of focus - clearness and calm.

It's awesome.

All that said, hopefully things melt soon... there's still 20+" of ice on the lakes and 2 feet of snow in the woods!  YIKES!

The next two things were posted with Alan of Small Stream Reflections "fame" in mind.  Alan always 1.) posts stuff that makes me hungry and 2.) via his blog got me to consider fishing bright pink worms... So, first... a dish from a few weeks back that I just have not gotten to posting - backstrap from a buck I shot last fall... Some mango teriaki (SP), a frying pan... and a big salad and you have some amazing chow there.  It's mind boggling to me.  You look at the meat from a while animal... where's the fat?  Totally different to eat food that is truly free range and organic :)...

Last, a new "take" on Alan's Pinkie.  I love the rubbery approach, but the body's never came out in a way I really liked... so I dubbed em!  I like it.  Some tungsten wire wrapping the shank, hot pink thread and pink dubbing to go with the worm and It's a sweet looking little fly.  Now, if the water would just open a hair more...