Thursday, May 25, 2017

More Crappies on a "test fly"

I've had a thing for "guide" flies this year.  Must just be the variety of things going on in life, because the simplicity of "guide" style flies just feels good.

One of my favorite salt water and small mouth flies is Lefty's Craft Fur Shrimp.  That super simple little fly - nothing but a craft fur tail and craft fur "dubbing loop" body with bead chain eyes - catches fish.  Man does it!

So, the other day, messing with some other flies, I thought about trying a smaller one.  Literally holding chartreuse craft fur, I figured, why not.  And the result was a #8 hook, chartreuse craft fur tail, and bushy dubbed body of the same material - over fire orange thread.  I had some nickel bead chain eyes in a pocket on my vice base, so they were used.  The result, after catching about 20 crappies in it's first swim, is the fly below :)

The fly caught a few small largemouths as well.

I did fish the slow rolla to though a little... I'm just really taken by that fly, so I fished it a little as well, and it kept it's streak of catching crappies alive.

Amazing how dark these fish are.  I dont remember that last year when I started to fish this pond... But man, many are real dark - I guess they are owning up to the technical name "Black Crappie"!

Have a super Memorial Day weekend, and, if you are a vet - thank you for your service!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

A few odds and ends

Quite the variety of things going on for our family of late.  I'm busily working on a presentation I'm doing this week for USA Cycling's Coach Education program for starters - it's going well, but I need to rehearse a bit more, and cut words so the slides just create an emotion or feeling, trigger a memory or thought.  That's the trick that feels best to me when doing or working on presentations.  I have to tell a story.  A good presentation may get an amalgamation of facts and information across to the audience, but it does so by taking on the form of a story.  Death by powerpoint is oh so true!  Nothing tougher to sit through than an hour of bullet laden slides.  They just get you reading, and you basically forget the presenter.  Which is never good - that's where the context and application comes from best.  So... I always try to view a presentation as a chance to tell a story - the slides just help make specific points stronger.  So, while I may use a slide with a table or chart now and then... often, it's zero to 3 words and a big picture.  That said, getting the story organized is easy when you are basically talking about what you do all the time!  Selecting pictures and minimizing wordage so things present well becomes tricky... And I'm fine tuning that now.

That said, I'm getting there, and still making some time to tie, and a little fishing has happened, as well as some nice bike rides.

That's a "tube jig" inspired fly I've been playing with.  I may get to mess around with it on some local bass tomorrow... Hope so, I'm liking the profile, and how light I managed to keep it - should cast pretty well.

A few weeks ago I had to run an errand one night at the local "Dicks Sporting Goods".  Kids had just gone down, so I shot over... and was amazed at this rainbow.  The pic does it no justice... If only I'd been able to get a shot that didnt include Chilli's or all the cars :).  Pretty awesome to see - it was actually a tripple, with two fainter rainbows outside the arch of this one.  

The gun club in the town I grew up in has a fun fishing derby each spring.  Last year we went and my son caught a 13" rainbow and was proud as could be... This year he got the skunk, but Emily made up for her skunking last year by landing two - one of which made it back into the water to freedom.  Normally I'm not a catch and keep kind of guy, but this affair is 100% in that context.  Fish stocked for the occasion a few days prior, and Water will be well beyond what the trout can tolerate within a few weeks leading to mass casualties of any fish that make it through the gauntlet of worms and bobbers on derby day.  The kids LOVE it though.

 Sort of hard to see, but on the way home, I took the very back roads (non maintained dirt roads) which sort of go through the woods from the club to my parents for lunch (made of Emily's brookie).  I thought this GPS pic was funny - just green, no road :)!  Ha!  Looks like I'm a real tough guy just driving through the woods ha ha ha! The land the road goes through is owned by Harvard Universities school of forestry - they own several thousand acres in town and thankfully, outside active experimentation areas, they allow fishing, hunting, hiking, skiing, biking, walking etc on their land.
Em at Mia and Grampy's with her first place trophy

Later in the day, one of the club's members stopped at my parents to drop off a trophy for Emily.  Apparently, in her age class for girls, her 12.75" brookie was the biggest fish caught - so she got a huge trophy out of the deal.  She was so excited that we drove back to my parents to pick up the trophy - you can see by the smile how proud she was.  Overall, I feel like kids get trophy's to easily now a days... But knowing as a kid I never won one at this derby, and seeing Em with one... That was pretty darn cool.  

I got one trip to a favorite brookie stream early last week... I was captain quick strike, and despite several takes, I never got a fish to hand.

Some streams choose to make fishing tough - by being small, winding through rose and blackberry bushes and covered in fallen white pines... It's great protection for the little char that live here.

Given this spot is only a couple hundred yards from a major reservoir, I'm sort of surprised no eagles or herons have tried to nest in these awesome standing dead trees...

Winter changes streams.  Winter and springs high water, pushing on last summer and fall's drought dry leaf jams changed one of my favorite spots on this stream.  This has been a big log where some water went under and most tumbled over the top - for several years.  But now, the stream has cut through the debris damn on the upstream side, and thus, it's pushing through the bottom.  Fishes very different - and while it always was good for a strike or two, no fish flashed on my fly here that day.

I really need to check the reg's here.  I'm not 100% sure if this land is huntable or not... But I need to check.  There's always some nice buck sign, and when a rub appears from last fall on a tree about 7-8" across... Well, there's a buck that could supply a lot of meat for the family living there!  This area always has nice deer sign, I really need to check into it more.  Fun to see the stream, and a lady slipper beyond the rub :)

Keep well everyone - have a super weekend!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Wild food and an old friend (stream) visited.

Turkey season has been awesome this year.  Lots of birds gobbling, and several have come to my calls, but not allowed a shot opportunity.  Finally on Wednesday I managed to call in 3 beautiful Tom's and the one in the middle offered a shot at 20yds.  I was fortunate to bring that great bird home - 22 lbs placed him at one of the larger birds I've ever shot.  The family has enjoyed it!

I generally bone out wild turkeys.  My wife has really wanted to pluck and roast one though... So I gave it a shot.  Worked out well, and yes, it was as tasty as it looks!  YUM!  Plus the turkey omelet left overs today were great too!

 Today, I was feeling pretty blue regarding the state of health care here in the US.  While I am risking a rough conversation, (I've generally tried to avoid discussion of anything remotely political here, overall, it just doesnt feel like the place) ultimately, I'm really frustrated about the bill passed by the house yesterday.  Having a family with intimate experience dealing with extreme illness, it causes me to be very frustrated, and angry.  Look, health care is expensive.  No bones about that.  However, selling low cost care with wretched coverage and claiming "problem solved" or "excellent care ahead" is brutal.  Ill restrain from getting into the details, which I've learned both via personal experience using the system and having a spouse who works in medicine... All Ill say is, listening to people promote this plan, I find myself pondering the possibility that they have the extreme fortune of having never experienced a major illness, or even an accident.  I hope they dont.  But I wish they could bring humanist thinking to this discussion and perhaps recognize that maximizing the health of a population is a hugely important and worthy expense.

Sorry, thinking about that really had me feeling frustrated, and I needed to take a few minutes to be on a stream, in the quiet, where the world is still seeming well.  So for the first time this year, I visited one of my favorite streams.  While I did an excellent job of "early releasing" so to speak, I still managed to bring a handful of brookies to hand.  Most important, despite the drought last summer, there were a great number of brookies here and most, were very solid in size and tugged hard.

Streams are in great shape.  The forests are coming to life.  Enjoy them!