Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Carping

  I got up fairly early this morning and instead of searching for hidden eggs, decided to christen  my new 3wt at the local ponds. Two hours of flogging the water, casting the narrow openings in the bullrushes, roll casts and reach casts. all the while trying to avoid cedar, dogwood and barberry on the back cast and with the rod tip, and for the most part succeeding. Two hours without a single bite and I was in heaven. Off to the next pond.

  Here the water is quite a bit muddier. I cast the margins, slowly bouncing the fly along the bottom. Working several hundred yards of shoreline, occasionally setting off territorial dogs in adjacent backyards. Finally...not a bite, but sight of a sunbathing school of carp. Off with the weighted nymph and start chucking a small wet hackle, crouched behind a stand of rushes. The slowly retrieved wet, just below the surface, gets the attention of the school and they all start closing in, only to turn away at the last second. The scenario is replayed over and over, through multiple fly changes, each time the school becoming warier to the point where, rather than spooking it completely, I make a major change in tactics. The fly rod is retired for the day, no longer brand new but still cherry.

  Out comes the lawn chair, box of worms and the ultra lite. Two minutes later...

  It completely left the water on hook set and immediately peeled off 10 yrds of line like maybe it thought it was a smallmouth bass.  It also completely spooked it's buddies. Eventually things quieted down, and after a few bluegill this guy came to hand
  For a healthier lifestyle, my doctor recently told me I should have fish at least twice a week. I couldn't agree more, I should do this more often!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Eyed Snake Fly

  While reviewing old fly files copied from the web or scanned from old magazines earlier this week, a few patterns jumped off the screen and shouted "TIE ME".

  The first, The Eyed Snake Fly, was originally tied for surf casting for stipers and features a cylindrical body of spun deer hair, an ostrich herl  tail, and the unusual addition of dumbbell eyes to make the fly float lower on the surface.
     The first one was tied on a large saltwater hook, the others tied on smaller bronze hooks with marabou added at the butt..

    These should appeal to bucket mouths and big toothies.

  The next pattern that demanded attention was The Killer Jim, another saltwater fly used for stripers. I've scaled down the proportions for fresh water and eliminated the zonker strip.
    Simply a marabou tail with a bit of crystal flash and a body of pearl mylar tube. This one was tied on a #4 baitholder hook and suitable for small to medium predators. Tie it with different colors, add weight and eyes or go up or down in size, the combinations are infinite.

  The third fly is an old Irish salmon fly called The Gosling.
  Hook - 3x long #6
  Tail - 4 pheasant tail fibers
  Rib - gold tinsel
  Body - caddis green ice dub
  Hackle - orange saddle
  Collar -chartreuse mallard flank

  This fly was designed to imitate a large swimming mayfly nymph and as such is not limited here to just trout and salmon but a full range of predators. Anyways... this is what I've been doing for the last week, while winter reasserts itself for one final gasp.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Yesterday I Drowned A Worm...

And I Liked It!

   There was no malice involved, but the drowning was intentional. My fly boxes are overflowing with proven and new patterns and here I am fishing with live bait. To a lot of you this doesn't make a whole lot of sense but the bottom line is that I needed to feel a good tug on my line and the only way to accomplish that was to dangle a worm below a float. Word on the street suggests he had it coming.

  The abbreviated winter of  2016 is in it's final stages, and with daily highs of 10C or more all week long ( that's 50F for those of you who use the Foreignheat scale) it was time to reacquaint myself with my backyard. Ice fishing is over for the year and trout season is still 5 weeks away so the only game to be played was at my local carp ponds.

  I loaded the saddlebags of my mountain bike with my ultralite, a small box of terminal tackle, a folding camp chair, and lest we forget...a box of 24 potential drowning victims. Funny...I don't recall ever hearing PETA protesting for the ethical treatment of bait. Throughout the 15 minute ride I envisioned casting to basking carp along the pond's weedy fringes.
   This pic is from 2014
  The reality I faced at my destination was that winter hadn't completely give up.

.   My third stop looked much the same but after 5 minutes of bush whacking waist high weeds I managed to find some open water.
    I spent half the afternoon comfortably basking in the spring sun, watching the ice sheet recede and sloughing off large rafts of floating scum that collected at my feet, all the while keeping a lookout for activity on the margins. After 3 hours of no action it was time to pack it in and as I retrieved the line one last time, it stopped dead at my feet.
  Definitely not what I expected to catch but welcome all the same. As it turned out the worm didn't really drown... it expired from massive trauma inflicted by a tiny, yet very hungry largemouth bass. The other 23 survived for another day.

  As I loaded up for the ride home it occurred to me that, although I can't legally fish it, I should check out the Rouge River, just a few blocks away. To my surprise it was running a little higher than last fall and crystal clear. Every time I'm there it amazes me how little this area is used recreationally! I've spent days down there without seeing anyone.