Saturday, November 24, 2007

Building Anticipation

What strange activities fill my open time this time of year. Pulling rods out of closets. Lubing reels. Winding new line. Sharpening hooks. Sorting tackle. Checking leaders. Watching weather reports and river guages. Surfing the boards. Perusing fish pictures. Writing to friends, talking steelhead. Dealing with the building anticipation. I usually set aside the fly rod this time of year as my access to good fly water is sharply limited in the high winter flows. It's still C&R, with single, barbless hooks - just a different configuration of tackle.
It will soon be here - the season of chrome torpedos. I can hardly wait and if nothing else takes over my time I plan to be out there in the cold, wet, gray Pacific Northwest living it up in pursuit of silver beauties like this one.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Summer Steelhead in November

I went to the local river today to try out a new Lamiglas casting rod. I was running the stick through its paces, trying to see how far I could cast when this summer steelhead suddenly appeared and tried to crush the silver plated spoon I was throwing. Though I knew there were still some summer fish present, it is so late in the season he caught me off guard. Our summer fish don't spawn until January so there are still some in the river below the hatchery at the dam. A nice surprise and a good warmup for winter Steelhead fishing. Hope to do some of that this winter.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Float Tube Efficiency

A very efficient way to fish with a fly rod is from a float tube. The primary advantage, besides being able to get out on the water away from fly eating trees and bushes, is hands free fishing. Since your feet do all the moving and steering via the fins used to propel the craft, you can dedicate every arm motion to fishing. Casting is a breeze once you adjust to your lower height above the water. Tubes do fairly well in a mild breeze as well. Many inflatable float fishermen prefer pontoon boats because they move much faster. However, get a fair breeze in a toon and you'll either have to anchor, be constantly on the oars (which precludes fishing), or spin around helplessly. You can kick in the wind (again we're speaking mild wind) and continue right on fishing in a float tube. Yes, it moves fairly slowly but I have found that this causes me to fish the water much more effectively than when I'm off rowing to the other side of the lake in a toon. Here's my Super Fat Cat rigged for a recent bass fishing trip. With lunch in the back compartment I was able to stay out all day. I returned just before dark. That's a net sticking up from a pocket behind the seat. The blue on the seat is an inflatable life preserver. If you look closely you can see an anchor bag hanging from the right side. The fish finder is laying across the back, just behind the seat. Once under way this is dropped into the sleeve on the left (barely visible.)

Here's the same tube rigged for trout fishing. Note the two fly rods in holders on the right, the fish finder (sonar) on the left. All gear fits into the two pockets on the sides. The net and additional items go behind the seat. In this model you sit high and dry with your wadered legs wet only below the knees.

Here my grandson in his tube. He has an ODC 420, another pointed nose model which is very similar to the SFC, only about half the price. Note the fish finder on the right of the picture, the sleeve that it fits in, and the rod holder on the left. He wears a blue inflatable PFD.

Here is his tube in action. In this photo he's landing a trout that he hooked while executing the deadly tubers troll with a fly.

Here's a side view of the SFC. Perfect line position for casting or trolling.

Here's a shot with the diver's fins I use. These are Mars Plana Avanti 3's (they're blue in the picture.)

Fish finders mount on tubes very easily, helping you keep track of structure, depth, and temperature. Here's a shot of one I use. It's mounted on a plastic pipe cap which fits into the cup holder on the tube. A PVC pipe with the transducer mounted on it is bungied to the side of the tube for easy raising and lowering.

The only drawback I have found with float tubes is that carp are quite spooky of them. Though you can work stealthily up on most freshwater gamefish, carp seem to be put down by the leg motion. A fly fisherman is also too low to the water to spot carp when sight fishing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More Stillwater Trout

What a difference a week makes! Last Monday we had a 95 degree scorcher that drove the trout down to sulk on the bottom. Surface temp was 72 degrees. Fishing results showed it. This Monday (9/17/07) we had pleasant, mostly cloudy weather with some rain and a surface temp of 61. Trout were happy for the change - and almost suicidal in the low light conditions. Action started right at my arrival on the water at noon at my favorite trout lake. First pic is a good representation of the dark day. The fish loved it.

Fish were consistently 16-19 inches. Fat, chunky rainbows in good health and hungry as bears just out of hibernation.

As a testimony to the change of the season, this summertime bug hitched a ride on my tube when the damp air became too much to keep his helicopter wings flapping. He stayed with me until I went ashore.

Trout continued to cooperate in a big way.

The fly selection wasn't at all complicated. Seal buggers early and chironomids later when a few started showing on the surface.

I hit the docks early. 5 PM and I called it a day with plenty of daylight left to stow my stuff and make the two hour drive home. Since my buggy friend was so faithful in hanging onto the tube, I gave him a nice resting spot to see out the remainder of his days. Made a pretty picture.

What a wonderful day on the water! Final score was: zonker - 15; trout - 0

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stillwater Trout Tubing

In spite of excess heat warnings from the weather service I decided to break from the carping today and chase some trout in a favorite pond. Though it was warm throughout the day I hoped to at least score a few fish as evening approached. Though the results weren't spectactular, it was rewarding. I spent my time in the float tube - something I have enjoyed for many years.

I also broke in a new fish finder - a Buddy 4200. This replaced an older model that I've used since the early 90's.

Fish didn't cooperate until nearly dark. As the water temp finally dropped a couple of degrees I caught four from 16-18 inches just before dark. Succesful fly was a black/red Seal Bugger and a black/red Beadhead Wooly Bugger.

A very nice change of pace.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Some Carp Surfing

No. That's not a new technique. I was just surfing the net and came across a nice carping video with a bit of a wrinkle. The wrinkle was using a partner to spot feeding fish. The video is called Carp, an Introduction. It's on a website called Great stuff. A description of this is on The Day Tripper Blog.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fly Fishing Lessons for Beginners

I was searching the Internet this morning for things that might be helpful to a beginning fly fisher. I enjoy helping others get started in our sport. I came across a video series of "Fly Fishing Lessons." It is very well done.

Click on the link and you'll be taken to the first one. Other links should pop up on the page to allow you to work your way through the series.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mid-week Carping

Look who's the star of the show - again. I had no days off last week so when an opportunity presented itself to get away from the office for the second part of the day Tuesday, I jumped. When I arrived at the carp ponds my friend Josh was there fishing for bluegills. He had a bag full. After exchanging greetings we talked fishing for a bit. While talking the calm water in front of us starting sprouting bubbles in several spots. I cast for about a half hour and finally got a take. I handed the rod off to Josh and he executed the landing honors flawlessly.

The fish was a five pounder.

I think Josh loves carp! It sounds to me like there may be a fly rod in his future.

He had reached the end of his stay and needed to head home. I abandoned the spot when another fisherman joined me - after we chatted for a bit about warmwater fishing opportunities. He indicated that he had a fly rod and was quite inquisitive at my use of this method for carp. Anyway, I headed over to the larger lake. After a while I got into some action.

Another five pounder...

A six and a half...

And a seven and a half.

One more fish was hooked but the hook popped out, making me think that I may have foul hooked him.

It was a relaxing few hours - a nice "brain broom" for a busy number of days. I left well before sundown and was home in time to return a couple of phone calls.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Carping

Spent 2/3rds of today carping. No spectacular results. Six fish from 4.5 to 6.5 lbs. Sunny and warm conditions. Not much time to post. Photos below.