Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Spot Warm Water Bonanza

I tend to review a few fishing blogs and coaching blogs prior to getting my brain work for the day going.  Working from home... it's great, but it's also hard.  The great is the "freedom"... But that's also a challenge and the "hard".  One of the challenges is the benefits of a commute.  Commuting gives you a few minutes to wrap you brain around the task of working, to bring to the front, key things you want to focus on while working.  It's a real value.  Sure, a LONG commute is beyond what I'm talking about... but 20-30'... Not a bad thing.

So knowing I was going to load some pic's today I thought I had to "show" Alan, AKA BrkTrt of Small Stream Reflections who wished us all a good cup of Joe today, that I was indeed.  "Treat form" given today it was foam cup wednesday - when I got a D and D after dropping the kids at camp for the day.

After living here since 2000, I'm embarrassed to admit I'd never even checked out this local city park until this spring when a few of the kids school friends asked us to go play there on a playground.  The first thing I thought was whether the pond had any fish, and the next was that the trails looked fun for running.  Oh, and that the city has done a heck of a job making this a gem of a park - it's gorgeous.

A little research showed the trails are great for running (especially a good 300 feet of elevation gain along a little water fall on the backside of the property - that gets the old heart thumping really well)... But I was pretty sure I'd seen a few sun fish... Add them to the rainbow's the state stocks for a local fishing derby and for locals to catch... but which have to die by early June given the ponds temps... and this may have some "legs".  

A week ago I was going to zip out and fish for bass at a local pond after reading the kids stories.  I'd planned an hour prior to working on a paper for school.  But at the end of the street something triggered me to turn right v left and I found myself at the park.

There were a few folks fishing with worms and bobbers, The cities giant fountain in the middle of the pond (it's about 7 -8 acres) was making for great, relaxing noise, a few kids were playing on the playground and a group of folks were taking an outdoor yoga class under the pavilion overlooking the pond.  AWESOME to see so many folks enjoying being outside!  I had no expectations, or cares.  I was just going to prospect with a deer hair diver I'd made.  I took no pics.  Made no posts - till now.  Sometimes, you just want to be there.  Maybe it's selfish... I dont think so.  Some times, you just need a recharge... so the camera stayed in the pocket.  Anyway, I caught a lot of 8-12" bass that night.  Maybe 12 of them in an hour.  

So last night, same scenario, I was excited to see how things went... was that a fluke or was I on to a great little "secret".  Turns out, that I was... This is a fun little pond and I'm sad to admit I've not fished it until now!

I managed a bunch of fish, and was treated to a lot of fish attacking some small fry near the surface which was really cool.

I knew there were sun fish and bass... I knew the state stocks it... but bow's are not going to survive here, no chance.  What else lurks.

Well, last night, the first taker was a bass on the same hair bug I'd been to lazy to change from the last trip...

 Then I decided to try a little bunny and plastic legs streamer with some maribou.  Had a few takers, but was surprised when the one I finally landed was a nice sized perch.  I caught several more of these guys prior to deciding that I wanted to fish up top again.

Looking through the bass box, I noticed a small foam diver.  it's white and red, and with a loop knot it really wobbles under water.  It's not pretty, but it's always caught fish for me, so on it went.  Oh, and it's pretty small.  It's on a #2 hook, maybe 3" long... Given the fry looked small and the fish are small this seemed a good option.

First cast landed this 10" bass, and then several more from the same area... I start seeing boils about 20yds down the causeway trail I was fishing from and work my way over.  After shooting the little fly out, I got a nice take, and "quick released" a real nice crappie.  I ended up catching maybe 4 more that actually came to hand.  I had NO idea there were perch or crappie in here - cool!

I think people often focus on fishing crappies with small streamers or bead heads.. but man, I've caught a bunch over the years on poppers and sliders.  They really like to take small fish, and bugs off the surface - they are definitely "up" feeders.

Next time though, I'm going to bring the 6wt v the 8.  The 8 is set up for bass so I just grab it and go... My 6 is still set up for salmon from the fall.  It will work fine, just have to grab it from the basement.  It will work better if I bring smaller flies and try to target the variety here more than just the bass - which was really my intent the last few trips.  Coming out with a ton of #10 white woolly buggers and little pencil poppers could yeild a TON of crappies if last night is an indication... And I think the average bass size suggests they would be happy to eat that stuff as well.  Wish I could night fish here... With all these smaller fish around, there has to be a few 5+lb bass in the pond...

No worries though, I'm just psyched to have found it, and look forward to enjoying my new "honey hole".

Oh, and it's resulted in exposing some people to fly fishing that have only seen pic's or seen it on TV.  They have been really intrigued and seem excited to investigate it more.  Pretty awesome.

Enjoy the 4th of July!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ok Entomologists... help me out here.

To my bug savvy cohort out there in the interweb's... This little guy was on my house this morning.  The wing's tented like a caddis, and look a lot like one... But they are sort of "clear" and the bug is fully super green.  Even the veining in the wing's is green.  I'm talking Kermit The Frog green!

Any ideas on if this is a caddis or some other bug family?

Yes, I do need to wash the house by the looks of things :)


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Early summer in the woods - on 29 inch wheels

My life is rather intertwined between fishing and cycling.  Why?  Well, fishing came first.  As a kid, it's all I wanted to do.  All day.  Every day.  We lived in a small, quaint and very rural New England town, so my parents had no issue dropping me at a pond or stream and picking me up later in the day.  My dad jokes he put the first 3000 miles on a new Subaru wagon we had when I was early in my teen years driving me back and forth to a catch and release/fly only tailwater about 30 miles from home.

Well, eventually, my folks got pretty tired of all this driving :) and got me a mountain bike.  I started riding to fishing spots, but then a good buddy and I, well, we realized riding was really dang fun too - in it's own right!

We started riding more, ultimately starting racing.  That process lead me to pursue sports science and ultimately coaching as career paths.  It lead me to many amazing bike races and experiences on road bikes, cyclo-cross bikes and mountain bikes. It lead me to major curiosity regarding endurance sport and human performance overall! I'm skipping a lot of details there for brevity, but you get the idea.  Fishing and bikes for me are integrated into the fiber of who I am, and what I do every day.  They are both, awesome!

With life the past few years, kids being born, busy coaching, child with cancer, child surviving cancer, grad school... well, you can imagine something had to give.  It's been the bike mostly.  I get out some... but not at all as much as I'd like to, or should.

With everyone healthy (knock wood) and school ending in August, I'm excited to be getting on the bike a bit more.  It feels great!

Early this week I got a nice spin at lunch through the local state forest.  The pic above is at the top of a challenging climb.  It's hard to recognize the steepness... it's probably a 35-40% grade for the final 50 yds here after climbing steadier grades of varying technicality to this point.  That's the fun of riding off road... it's meditative.  You dont have a choice.  You are here, now.  Cant think about what you just did.  Cant think about what's to far ahead.  It's a beautiful thing... just like fly fishing.

Further along, after some rocky descending, you parallel the hill's north east side.  It's a well worn trail that I've ridden, or trail run many times over the 16 years we have lived here.  Occasionally Ill bump into a deer... or another person out enjoying the trails.

A few trails come together here.  I'd just ridden through this area, and the pic is looking back.  I always think of a friend who some how survived a very substantial "super man" flight over the handlebars coming down the steep hill, out of frame to the right.  No idea how he didnt get hurt!  None whatsoever!  My technical riding skills are rusty, but all those years of racing burned in the motor patterns needed.  I dont have the engine size I once did, but with just a few rides, I can work into the performance template my mind has established, find those dusty motor patterns and use them to make due... nah, use them to enjoy the heck out of a ride in the woods!

After passing that last intersection... you get into a nice laurel swamp.  My wife and I were serenaded by a pack of coyotes one night about 10 years ago here - probably only 50-100yds away in the laurels.  This spot is wet almost every year - sometimes with a foot of water or more in spots.  This year, we are 4.5" low on water for the year, and the terrain reflects it... more dust, than mud.

But, you can see one of the great attractions of riding here this time of year...

The state forest has a big laurel population and it's blooming right now.  The flowers are amazing.  In some areas they make the woods look as if they were covered in a light snow!

It's hard not to stop now and then just to take it in.

Cycling may not seem, at first glance, like a trip to a small stream to chase wild trout... But at least for me, the two are undeniably linked.  And for good reason.

They both bring a level of wellness to me, that, I can fully admit... Is addictive in the most positive way which one could use the word.

Enjoy the outside today... on two wheels, or two feet... whichever brings that higher level of wellness to you!