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Category Archives: Fishing

Fly Stock – Kingsland, Texas

Looking for something to do this weekend, look no further!

Welcome to the very first annual FlyStock!  We are striving to do something unique and your support can make the difference.  FlyStock isn’t your normal fundraiser, it is a convergence of a music festival, a trade show, and a fishing round-up.  The best part?  This event is being held on the water!

FlyStock has partnered with Project Healing Waters, an organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of wounded active military personnel and disabled veterans through the art and skill of fly fishing.

By joining us for a fun-filled weekend of flyfishing and music in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, you are giving an opportunity to these men and women who have sacrificed and lost so much for us. We look forward to seeing you! Email vaqueros.tres@gmail.com for ANY questions!

http://flystock.org/

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Everything else!, Fishing, Shows

 

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Dispatches from Canada: 6 Tips to improve your fly fishing this winter

First off, a clarification: I’m finally writing this in Mexico.

I say finally as this post has been batted around between a field book, a note book, my laptop and my brain for about 6 weeks; this is just the first time it’s being compiled in one place and finally (that word again) being posted.

If you’re a fly fishing addict like me that has to unfortunately deal with sustained temperatures below freezing and little to no chance of wetting a line for a few months, things might seem bleak right now…well, bleak for you. I’m sweating to death on a project site in Mexico…but it was bleak for me a few weeks ago.

But fear not, for there are ways for you to get through the midwinter blues and improve your fly fishing abilities. Here are six of them…plus a bonus tip.

1. Hit the books.

There’s a lot of books on fly fishing, both as literature and how-to, and typically there are several available for different species and geographic locations. Check in at your local fly shop, library or bookstore; most will carry a selection of both general how-to books as well as locally published works for regional waters. Another option is popping onto any local meesage board or forum. Worse case scenario, there’s Google and Amazon to find what your looking for.

I suggest asking your local fly shop or local independent bookstore if they can get the titles you’re looking for in stock & for what price; it’s always a good thing to support local business.

For books on specific species, here are a few I’d recommend:

Trout – Dave Whitlock – Trout and Their Food
Smallmouth Bass – Bob Clouser – Fly Fishing for Smallmouth: In Rivers and Streams
Atlantic salmon – Paul C. Marriner – Atlantic Salmon: A Fly Fishing Reference
Steelhead – Dec Hogan – A Passion for Steelhead
Bonefish – Chico Fernandez – Fly-Fishing for Bonefish
Tarpon – Don Larmouth, Rob Fordyce, Flip Pallot – Tarpon on the Fly

2. Learn a skill.

Try out fly tying, leader-building, knots; learning something practical along those lines will help improve your fly fishing.

Hop on to youtube or check out some other online reseources; there are loads of tips & techniques online to help you learn whatever you need to learn.

Learning better & efficient knots will save you time, allowing you to have your fly in the water more throughout the day. Plus you might learn a more appropirate knot for different fishing scenarios.

Teaching yourself to build your own leaders also saves time, but it also saves money. Adding fresh tippet to a leader can be a lot faster than replacing a full leader once you become proficient at the knots involved, and twenty-four inches of tippet material from a spool is a lot cheaper than most knotless, tapered leaders from the manufacturers.

Fly tying will NOT save you money, and anyone who says otherwise is either lying or kidding themselves. That being said, it’s a great method to learn about the flies you use, their names, and how & when they’re fished. It’s an intensive process, and (sadly) it can become as addictive as the fishing itself.

3. Make some friends.

Start hanging out a bit more at your local fly shop, meet some fellow customers and chat with the staff. Perhaps they host a weekly fly tying night, like mine does. Perhaps there’s a local chapter of Trout Unlimited or a local angling or conservation group that has monthly get-togethers.

Often shops or groups might put on seminars for casting, fly tying, or fishing techniques, too; they’re a great place to meet new people and perhaps learn a few things.

If you don’t have any of these options close to home, don’t despair; there’s loads of fellow fly fishing addicts online on forums and social media platforms. Twitter has been great for me for meeting new folks; I even met up with a few of them IRL (that’s tech-speak for “In Real Life”) to fly fish in Guatemala. GooglePlus (or G+) is a great place to meet up with fly fishing folk, too; I have over 300 outdoors-types in my fishing circle. In fact, G+ is how I came to be writing here on the Mooseknuckle blog.

Sign up for twitter here and check out #FishChat or #CastingChat on Tuesdays & Thursdays, and say hello!

Word of advice: Don’t just ask for people to tell you their spots, especially online. It’s called spot-burning, and it’s highly frowned upon. Two reasons not to do this:

  1. Some people have worked pretty hard to find their little honey-holes, and while they’ll probably share the locations with friends, it doesn’t take much for a spot to become over-run with people. Especially with the location now published on the interwebs.
  2. People will be outright MEAN to those who sign up on a forum & blurt out locations or questions for locations. Mean. Some of them live for the chance to call out some poor, unaware noob. Those mean folk especially like to congregate on the Drake Forum.

4. Practice.

Yup, I said it. Practice.

Practice. Your. Casting.

I know, it sucks, being out on your lawn or an unused sportsfield or empty park, casting on grass if you’re lucky. Snow if you’re not. Being looked at all weird & stuff by onlookers.

Trust me, do I ever know. I’m going to do the exam for the Federation of Fly Fishers’ Certified Casting Instructor (CCI). It’s pretty in depth, and requires a lot of casting practice. Months of casting practice. We had a cold snap a few weeks ago, and it was -26°C (that’s -15°F, American friends) and I was almost glad I had a pinched nerve in my casting shoulder to keep me from going out on those days to practice casting.

But it was only the pinched nerve (and my lovely girlfriend nursingme back to health) that kept me from doing it.

You probably don’t need to practice multiple times per week (unless you want to do the CCI exam with me…?), but I do recommend trying to get out a few times before spring thaw & opening day, just to get back into the rythm of casting.

That way, your opening day won’t be spent snipping off windknots or digging a fly out of the back of your head.

5. Explore…from your couch.

Go to Google Earth. Download it. Get a local atlas or backcountry map book or similar, preferable with topography on it. Grab your GPS and/or fishing journals (you have fishing journals, right?) while you’re at it, too. Start “pinning” productive spots you’ve fished in the past, either by notes, memory, or GPS coordinates.

Next step: hop onto forums, or do some googlin’, to see what silly bastards broke the cardinal rule of “don’t spot-burn on the interwebs.” Yeah, I know what I said above. But some people don’t get it, and you might as well use the information available. Besides you’re going to look for the spots that are a little off the beaten path; anything over 15-20 walk from where the guys who fish within view of their parked vehicles are. Mark these spots on Google Earth, perhaps with a different colour pin. Figure out how to get there (safely) using your atlas or map book.

Being a better angler has a lot to do with knowing where the fish are.

6. Get off the couch.

A lot of these tips involve the couch or the recliner: knot-tying, reading, computer-based exploring & friend-making. So on & so forth.

This tip is to make sure you’ll have the physical capacity to get to these out-of-the-way secret locations you’ve found via Google Earth.

Walk, run, do pushups & dips, snowshoe or ski, shovel the driveway instead of paying someone to do it.

Just put down the Doritos and the Geirach book and get off the damn couch and do something.

BONUS TIP: Fly south.

Had enough of the cold? Bored of doing all the things I listed above? Book a flight, book a guide, and fly south.

Once you’re there: LISTEN to your guide and do what he says. He’s a guide for a reason, and if you don’t hook into the fish you’re looking for (*cough* my striper fishing in Maine *cough*), at least you can get some knowledge for your hard-earned cash.

That being said…it’s not always cheap to do. And sometimes it’s a hassle. That being said, a few of my tips for traveling can be found here, here, and here, too.

You might as well check this out as well to show you that: A) it’s not impossible, and B) it’s always worth it.

********
I hope you enjoyed the list and find it helpful to get through the winter blues…even though it took me 6 weeks to post it & it would’ve been more useful in the first week of January.

Now I’m off to practice what I preach: there’s a bass fishing book & a couch calling out to me.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Fishing

 

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RedfishSTRAVAGANZA!

I owe you folks an apology.  I’ve been so caught up in the happenings of the past few weeks that I’ve completely neglected knocking out this trip report from the Big Easy.  I’ve told and retold the stories to friends and family countless times, so it’s time to share with the rest of you.

With that said, I’d been looking forward to this trip for quite some time.  I’m originally from southwest Louisiana, so that automatically means I’m Cajun, except for the people that know better  Honestly, my hometown is about 20 minutes from the Texas border, so I’m closer to Texan than Cajun, but I always crack a smile when I mention where I’m from and people jump to that conclusion.

Regardless of the exact logistics, a return to The Motherland was originally planned by my wife and I as a one-year anniversary trip, but due to a change in job, she wasn’t able to make it this go-around.  I decided to make the best of it, and planned to drive over and spend some time with my little brother, who’s currently a junior in the architecture program over at LSU.

I drove the 9 hours or so east on I10, which happens to be one of my favorite drives in the country.  Once you get right east of Lafayette or so, you end up over the Atchafalaya Basin, which is the largest swamp in the country.

Plus, you get to drive over places with cool names.

If this bay was made of whiskey, would you drink it?

Little bro and I arrived in town right smack during rush hour, which was surprisingly tame compared to local traffic here in Austin.  We checked in to our room, headed out for some fresh seafood, and called it an early evening, as we both knew what awaited us the next day.

Our guide, Captain Greg Dini, picked us up before daybreak the next morning.  Captain Greg is considered to be one of the best redfish guides in the area, and has been getting some great exposure recently with some of the filmwork he’s done.  You may have seen his video Riding High from the Drake 5 Minute Films back at IFTD in August.  He was a fantastic guide, and we really enjoyed spending the day with him out in the Venice Marsh.

Redfish Ninja Greg

This was Kyle and I’s first time fishing out of a skiff, so we only had a vague idea of what to expect.  What I personally didn’t expect is how fast things happened.  As soon as we poled into the first area, we had two 30+ pound fish cruising right at us on top.  By the time I picked my jaw up off the casting platform, those jokers were well out of casting range.

Now, the weather was supposed to be ideal.  Supposed to be, being the key phrase there.  The forecast called for mostly sunny skies, but it ended up being overcast for the majority of the day with a pretty stout wind.  This made it really tough to spot fish, even in the crystal clear 4′ of water they were in.  We spooked a ton of fish with the boat that we just couldn’t see until it was too late.

Finally, after a few unproductive hours, we were cutting through cane-surrounded inlet, and  I spotted a fish right in front of the boat.

Showtime.

I don’t remember casting.  I don’t remember setting the hook.  All I remember is my reel screaming like a stuck pig as the beast of a fish cut right through the cane into the open water beyond.

“You probably shouldn’t let him get in the cane,” my brother advised.

Probably not.

Thankfully, I was able to get my line untangled from the cane as Greg poled us back out into the open water.  I was halfway into my backing at this point, as Mr. Redfish headed out towards the horizon.  As I finally was able to put the rod to him, I realized this was the first time ever I felt under gunned gear-wise.  Luckily, the whoopin’ stick held out, even though I was sure it was going to break.

After an epic battle that left my little girl arms convulsing, I finally had my first redfish.  And oh what a redfish she was!

I love the spots on these fish.  Each fish is different and unique in the way they’re spotted.  I think that’s really cool.

After a bit of celebration, it was Kyle’s turn on the casting deck, and it wasn’t long before he got his first as well.

Pretty sure mine was bigger. Just sayin'

We continued to swap back and forth, each catching a few more fish.  I lost another bruiser right at the boat, and had another “small” 8-lber, while Kyle ended up a with a couple more as well.  The conditions made it tough, and my casting certainly wasn’t up to snuff, but we’d get a few shots every time the sun would peak out from the clouds for a few seconds.

I’m pretty sure the last fish of the day will be something that will live on in my head forever.  Coming around a corner, Greg spotted a nice fish a ways out.  I made a terrible cast that was short by quite a few feet.  I was about to pick up and recast, when the fish barreled over so fast, it pushed a rooster-tail wake of water out behind it.  It crushed my fly, and took off.  It was like being hooked to a battleship, but after another tough fight, we got her in as well.

Big Fish of the Day

We called it a day on that note.  It was around 4:30, and we had a decent ride back to the dock, and all wanted to make it back to town before the big LSU-Bama game that night.

Kyle's Gameday shirt could be seen for miles.

Honestly, this trip lived up to all of my expectations.  It was great to get to spend some time with my brother out  in the marsh.  Captain Dini was a great guide, and while very patient with our casting, was always eager have a bit of fun with us when we blew a shot completely.

Pretty sure I’m ruined now.  Trout be damned; I can’t wait to get back to the salt.

When I close my eyes at night, this is what I still see.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Fishing, Trip Report

 

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The life in Sweden

Up here in the north it becomes darker colder day by day. The first snow usually come in a few weeks and the fishing season to an end. But when the season is over so begins another. The flytying season. Since I love to tie flies, I have already started the season.

Here are some of the flies I tied recently.

Damsel

Damsel

 

Czechnymph - pink

Czechnymph - pink

 

Czechnymph - brown

Czechnymph - brown

But I have not only tying flies. I’ve had little time for pike fishing. Have had a really lousy pike fishing recently and caught no big pike this time. But they are out there in the lake.

Small pike

Small pike

Have a nice day wherever you are.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Fishing, Fly Tying

 

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Universal Tippet Caddy ™ Revealed!

image

Overnight directly from the manufacturer!

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Fishing, Gear

 

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Dispatches from wherever: Travelin’

Give 'er...

So you want to be a traveling angler?

There’s quite a few different paths one can take to reach this goal:

  1. Become really, really good at fly fishing;
  2. Inherit the family carpet business, sell it, and become really good at fly fishing;
  3. Become a commercial airline pilot and become really good at fly fishing;
  4. Become really good at both fly fishing and photography;
  5. Become really good at writing about fly fishing;
  6. Have a trust fund or win the lottery or have a large inheritance;
  7. Marry rich;
  8. Become a geologist;
  9. Work hard, live simply, save money, research your butt off, and just do it!
If you didn’t know already, I do a combination of #8 & #9. I don’t really recommend #8 to many people, however, so I’ll dish out a few tips for #9.
1. Quit making excuses & sacrifice a little.
How does this tie into traveling? Well, count how many times you have said, or heard someone else say, “I don’t have any time to do that” or “I wish I could afford that.” Funny thing is, with a bit of sacrifice, many people could have the time or money to travel & fish.
How much TV do you watch in a week? Knock a few hours from that to get caught up on nagging chores or assignments. Or research potential travel deals online. Or start a side-gig to make a few extra bucks.
Speaking of TV, do you have cable? Get rid of that money-pit. Our cable bill was over $80/month. Times that by 12 months = $960/year. That’s real cash right there.
There’s lots of other ways to save some cash: cut down on takeout; grow your own veggies; walk, ride a bike or take public transit. It all adds up. Google is your friend on this.
My little life motto is this: Live Simply. Fish Hard. Have Fun. It’s amazing what you can do with that.
2. The internet is your friend.
Sense a recurring theme? The internet is truly your friend when it comes to finding travel deals.
Bookmark Kayak, Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz and the like. Also check out the websites for the airlines themselves. Check frequently.
(Side note: I’m from Canada, where we essentially have a monopoly on air travel: Air Canada. If you book a ticket with them, they immediately send Bruno & Gino to your house to grab you by the ankles and shake you upside down until ALL of your money falls out. You fine Americanos have Southwest Airlines, which permits you to fly anywhere through the USA for approximately $7, from what I can tell. So suck it up a little bit. I kid, I kid…sort of…)
Ok…got that part? Now it’s time to dive a little deeper into this whole internet thing…ready?
There is a not-so-secret internet society called Travel Hacking. Start there.
To put it into real numbers, in less than 12 months, doing a really half-ass job as a travel hacker, I’ve managed to hoard up over 100,000 frequent flyer miles. That total doesn’t include what I collected flying; add those miles, it’s up to 140K.
There are some folks that get five or ten times that amount in the span of a year.
Alright, I’m not going to hold everyone’s hand through this. Turn off the TV and hit the inter-tubes.
Besides, I’ve said too much already; I’m expecting Bruno & Gino to arrive any minute…
3. Pack smart.
So you’re all booked & ready to go now? Here’s a few quick packing tips:
  • Pack light. Figure out the climate/weather & go from there.
  • Carry on your rods & reels. I use this (it’s in the pic at the top). It’s carry-on approved, and fits in overhead compartments on every plane I’ve flown on (that’s quite a few, btw…)
  • Pack light. Seriously.
  • Check your flies, forceps, pliers, multi-tools, etc. in check baggage. Or you’ll lose it forever.
  • Pack light. I’m not kidding you. Some people use the “take half your stuff & double the money” rule, but we’re trying to keep this on a budget, right?
  • Use the internet. Remember? It is your friend.
  • Pack a Mooseknuckle Lanyard (sorry, had to 🙂  )
4. Keep your wits, an open mind & a positive attitude.
Trust me, s**t happens. All the time.
It could be minor, like a slight delay on a layover.
It could be moderate, like having an officer of the National Security Force of Burkina Faso pocket your passport & hand you a signed slip of paper with a dollar amount, in CIFA’s, written on it, and not having your passport in a weird & exotic place for four days, until he is paid & returns it.
It could be major, like a hurricane hitting your destination.
All you can do is keep your smarts about you, figure s**t out, and move on.
Because, trust me, those are the parts of the story you’ll tell, laugh about, and remember forever.
********
These are just a few tips & pointers to get you thinking about hitting the road (or air). I could write a 500-page book on this stuff, so this is very much the very top of the tip of the iceberg. So do your own research. And have fun.
Happy trails.
 
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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Fishing

 

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What do you have on your fishing lanyard?

After a short period of paying particular attention to the equipment or tools that people put on their lanyards it does not take long to realize that lanyards and the tools they carry are as unique as the user.  We all have our favorite piece of equipment and tools we will never dare enter the water without.  While a few seem to carry the kitchen sink on their lanyards.  I would consider my lanyard to be simple, with the exception of one luxury item.  My lanyard carries a pair of Able Nippers, Orvis Forceps with scissors, a Ty-Rite, and our Universal Tippet Caddy ™.

My simple, yet effective Stainless Steel Lanyard.

The Abel Nippers were a gift from the wife, hands down the best nippers I have used thus far.  They make quick work of anything up to 100lb braided line.  I accidentally purchased the Orvis Forceps with scissors while looking for forceps with a split shot jaw, really had no use for the scissors at the time.  But since then, the scissor portion has been used far more often than the split shot jaws.  I use the scissors to trim everything from line to indicators and flies.  Of course the Universal Tippet Caddy ™ is a must, between breaking off on snags and changing flies I reach for tippet more frequently than the forceps.  Last but not least, my Ty-Rite.  Yeah I know what your thinking, but honestly it saves me more time on the water than you can imagine.  Since most of my fishing is done dead of winter, frozen numb fingers makes it a challenge to tie size 20 and smaller midges.  Now that you have an idea about what I have on my lanyard lets take a look at a few others.

Pro-Staff member Dave Hise with his Carbon Fiber Lanyard

As you can see from the picture above pro-staff member Dave Hise carries the basics of nippers, nail knot tool, forceps (not pictured), and our Universal Tippet Caddy ™.  The most notable difference in Dave’s configuration is the addition of magnetic tool releases. As basic as this seems Ryan Dunne takes the cake on simplicity.

Pro-Staff member Ryan Dunne with the most basic of Stainless Steel Lanyards.

Pro-Staff member Ryan Dunne practices the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) theory with his lanyard.  Ryan merely carries our Universal Tippet Caddy ™, nippers, and floatant while fishing from a boat.  On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Nick Garlock puts his Stainless Steel Lanyard to work!

Pro-Staff Member Nick Garlock's fully loaded Stainless Steel Lanyard.

Recall that I said some people carry the kitchen sink on their lanyards, if you look closely at the picture above you can actually see the kitchen sink on Pro-Staff Member Nick Garlock’s Stainless Steel Lanyard.  From what I can tell it appears that Nick carries a couple bottles of floatant, a fly dryer / leader straightener, nippers, a nail knot tool, Kethcum Release, and of course our Universal Tippet Caddy ™ even while in a boat.  Pictured below are examples of what Pro-Staff Member Derek Young and John Dollar carry on their MooseKnuckle Lanyards.

Pro-Staff member Derek Young with a nice Cutthroat while using just the basics on his Stainless Steel Lanyard.

John Dollars' prototype MooseKnuckle Lanyard during field testing.

As the title indicates, what do you have on your fly fishing lanyard?  By simply subscribing to our blog, liking our Facebook page or following us on Twitter, and posting a comment below that answers the question, “What do or would you have on your fishing lanyard?” you will be entered in a random drawing for the very first giveaway of a MooseKnuckle Lanyards Universal Tippet Caddy ™ to be held December 1st.  (Only those who complete all three requirements will be be eligible to win.  Be sure to include either your Facebook or Twitter name in your post)

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Fishing, Gear, Giveaways

 

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Dispatches from…wherever..: Red State (of mind)

The bow of a flats skiff, that's the place for me

This was a difficult post to title.

Usually, they’re Dispatches from Canada. For the past few weeks, I’ve been in Idaho. And this post is about Louisiana.

Like most people, I blame BP. But for different reasons.

If it weren’t for the extensive coverage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, there’s a strong possibility that I would never have gone to Louisiana. Throughout the summer & fall of 2010, every major fly fishing magazine and numerous websites & blogs discussed the potential impact of the oil spill on the Gulf Coast fisheries. Images of one particular species of fish kept cropping up: redfish. I started seeing redfish everywhere: magazines, videos, blogs.

As cold weather started setting in at home, and our fishing seasons closed down, the whole redfish thing hit a critical point. I woke up one frigid morning, and, not wanting to disturb my girlfriend, I grabbed a fishing magazine off the floor. I flipped it open to see a massive redfish staring back at me. Uh-huh…

Later that day I sat down to do some work. Procrastination got the better of me: “I wonder how much a flight to New Orleans costs?”

Thirty minutes later, with a flight, hotel & guide booked, I started to realize I might have a problem.

I wrote a dispatch in praise of smallmouth bass, and yes, they’re my favourite home water fish. But redfish…all I have to say is wow.

The first one I hooked, I didn’t know what to do; my reel was screaming, the line burnt my fingers, the rod was bent in two…and I definitely didn’t know how to do a hero-shot.

I'm smiling on the inside. Honestly.

Despite the fact the photo makes me appear to have failed a recent calculus exam and am about to fall over, I was ecstatic about my first redfish. I hooked up with eight more and landed four of them…let’s say there’s a bit of a learning curve going from small stream trout on the 3wt to reds in the salt from the bow of a flats skiff, and leave it at that, shall we?

Regardless of my lack of being photogenic, I had an epic day (by my standards).

Not to be outdone by some Canadian noob, my guide one-cast the biggest of the day with the boat idling and proceeded to also school me in hero-shot poses.

Captain John shows me how it's done

Because the IFTD was held in NOLA this past year, lots of redfish content has been floating around again.

And I keep checking my frequent flyer account balances…again…

Sarcasm on the interhorn typically goes over like a lead balloon unless you specify it as #sarcasm

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Fishing

 

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The Dark Side

So, I’m primarily a fly fisherman.

I enjoy the challenge and “skill” sometimes required to pursue my quarry.  I love stalking fish in local gin-clear creeks and rivers with a fiberglass rod.  Heck, I’ll even break out the big guns and sling flies the size of small children on my 6, 7, and 8 weights for some bigger fish on lakes and larger rivers.  I like to think I’m not a snob when it comes to fly techniques; I’m usually willing to try pretty much anything to catch some fish.

Dolores River, October 2010

Even before I became I die-hard fly guy though, I was a weekend warrior bass angler, usually in the company of my dad, who taught me pretty much everything I know about fishing.  We’d spend nearly every weekend on the local reservoir near our house in southwestern Louisiana trying to fill up the freezer with bass fillets.  I’ve picked out baitcasting reel bird’s nests the size of softballs, bailed water out of a swamped bass boat in a storm, and thrown myself overboard when my Zara Spook hung itself in a hornet nest, inciting the natives.

I’ve mentioned it before. but we’re in the middle of pretty much the worst drought in Texas history.  Creeks and rivers are bone-dry.  Lake levels are at all-time lows.  It’s a tough place to be not just a fly chucker, but an angler in general.  I went for a walk one evening last week, and noticed the local neighborhood lake had dropped probably 3′-4′ additional in about a month, which killed most of the vegetation where most of the big boys hung out.  The fish had moved to the opposite corners of the lake, way out of reach of my subpar fly cast.

If I wanted to catch fish, it was time to get serious.

After a couple visits to some of the local big-box stores, I’d re accumulated enough gear to do some damage.  I reoiled and relined my baitcasting and spinning reels, who haven’t seen the light of day in a good five years or so.  I cleaned out my old tackle box, throwing away melted amalgamations of soft plastics that looked like they had come out of the Creepy Crawler machines (seriously if you grew up in the ’90s, you know what I’m talking about).  I was back in business.

You think fly anglers have gear lust? Trying doing both conventional and fly. Actually don't try this if you're married.

After a few visits back to the local lake, it was clear that I hadn’t really forgotten much.  I still remembered how to feather the spool on my baitcaster, how to detect a bite on a Texas-rigged soft plastic, and how to set the hook Bill Dance-style, if I so desired.  Despite the fact that my fly-purist buddies had busted out their pitchforks and torches, and were leading an angry fly-fishing mob to my doorstep, I was having a grand ole time.

These guys don't care if you're using a fly rod or not.

I guess the main point I want to make is that sometimes different situations require different tactics.  For you hardcore fly guys out there, you may a learn a thing or two if you pick up some conventional tackle and give it a shot.  Joe Cornwall over at Fly Fish Ohio has a great article regarding creek fishing with spinning rods, geared towards primarily fly anglers.  That goes for you conventional guys too, pick up a fly rod (or two) and give the other side of the sport a shot.  The results may surprise you.

Solid fish that crushed a chrome blueback Rat-L-Trap

I’ll leave you guys with a quote from Joe Cornwall’s article.

“Break out of the box, and learn some new skills while you’re at it.  If you want to fish more often, or don’t want to lose precious fishing time because conditions are sub-optimal, embrace the inclusion of a spinning rod into your repertoire.  It’s a fascinating sport in its own right, and it’s a great way to learn more about the species you target and the waters you fish.  Angling is a big sport.  It’s a great sport. And it’s too important to our health, our peace of mind and our relationship with the natural world to suffer less of it.” 

As for me, I’ll keep heading down to the local lake until we get enough rain to fill back up the rivers, with a my 7 wt. Fenwick in one hand, and my G. Loomis Baitcaster in the other.  It never hurts to be prepared, and I want to see if I can land another 10 lb. grass carp on a Chug Bug.  Seriously, he just demolished it yesterday.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Fishing, Gear

 

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Big Cedar River Fly Fishing Report 10.10.2011

Like most days when I get a chance to head to Virginia to do some fishing this one started out with the alarming going off at 0330.  While stammering around looking for the remaining gear to toss in the truck, barely able to keep my eyes open from the lack of sleep, the thought of crawling back into bed crossed my mind.  Not because I didn’t want to go fishing, but simply because sleep was becoming more and more valuable.  After all, this was my fourth day in a row of being up while the clock was still in the 0300 hour.  But today was going to be little different from my other trips to Virginia.  Well not a little, a lot different actually.  This day would be the first day I was headed out to exclusively introduce someone to fly fishing without actually getting to fish myself.  Having finished getting dressed and gathering gear I headed out the door to load up the truck.  My first breath of the cool morning made me pause in my tracks.  It is going to be a great day of fishing I thought to myself.  Still standing there taking in the cool start to the day I thought about how excited I was the first time I went fly fishing.  Realizing there were two people that were having those same feelings this morning made me realize sleep is highly overrated, we have fish to catch!

Corey looking forward to the first fish on a fly rod.

In my stammer I didn’t bother to make coffee as I knew I’d be passing Starbucks on my way to the shop.  But of course, like every other time I stop this early, Starbucks was still closed.  They should really reconsider their hours.  I was safe though, I knew Dave would need to stop for coffee too.  Arriving at Casters Fly Shop I discovered that I was the last of the four to arrive.  The two that were fishing, Julie and Corey appeared to be eager to hit the road.  After a brief stop at Starbucks from a cup of java we hit highway 321 north towards Boone.  With only an hour left in the trip the pre-cast briefing started, do this don’t do that type of thing.  While it sounds easy without a rod in your hand putting it to practice your first time isn’t so easy.

Julie working over a large slow moving pool. She pulled five trout all together from this hole.

Arriving at the waters edge I could sense the excitement of the lucky two that for one would soon try his hand at fly fishing for the first time and for the other face trout the size of the ones in Big Cedar.  Needless to say, it didn’t take long for them to get geared up and headed to the water.  My first observation of the water was low, slow, and gin clear.  This may not be the best of combinations for first timers.

Didn’t take long before the trout showed their lack of concern for the water conditions.

Julie and Dave Hise showing off only her third trout ever caught.

Corey, who happens to be the engineering brains behind MooseKnuckle Lanyards Universal Tippet Caddy ™, was not to be outdone.  He hooked up with his first fish on a fly rod soon after.

Corey with his first fish on a fly rod!

They continued to catch fish all morning until they worked up a good appetite.  The fish ranged from two to three pounds and Corey hooked a couple that would have likely went five or six, but instead landing them he learned to very valuable lessons.  First, know how much further you can reel before the leaders enters the first guide.  If you reel the leader into the first guide and the fish runs it is likely never to be seen again.  Well maybe not that extreme, but the chance of the fish breaking off increases ten fold.  Secondly, if you get a big fish on and it runs, stay off the reel.  Right Corey?  So much as a mere brush up against the reel could create plenty of drag to allow the fish to break off, especially if the reel is singing. As always, Dave put on an amazing stream side lunch that would make most five star chefs envious.

A stream side lunch fit for kings, sorry the minestrone did not stick around to be photographed.

Fishing was even better following lunch with one hole producing easily ten to fifteen fish between the two.  Julie’s confidence using Squirmy Wormie was to the point she was pointing out fish in the pool that she specifically wanted to catch.

Post kiss picture, was just a second to late with the release.

With all the fish being landed Corey and Julie were compelled to show their gratitude with a planting of the lips.

Corey shows his appreciation.

At the end of the day I realized why guides guide.  Fueling the excitement of Corey and Julie by hooking them up with fish was enough to make me want to do it all over again soon.

Big Cedar

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2011 in Fishing, Trip Report

 

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