Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Your Local Fly Shop

Last post I mentioned that I didn't have any pink hackle to make a Pinkie Variant, so I used white.

This morning I had to run down to Sacramento (an hour and a half one way) to drop off some papers to our CPA. I got there at 8:30, dropped off said papers and since I was in Sacramento thought I'd drop over to a couple of the local fly shops to pick up some pink, if they had it.

A little after 9:00 I ended up at the front door of Kiene's Fly Shop. Sign said "Open at 10:00". Sorry, but I'm not sitting around for almost an hour and wait for them to open.

I headed back down the road.

I know that American Fly Fishing Co. doesn't open until 10:00 either. Nor does Fisherman's Warehouse for the needed 1/8 oz. pink Kastmaster I lost yesterday.

My point here is "Support your local fly shop" that doesn't open until way after you're on your way back home or shop online.

I know that most of the fishermen I talk to are up and running at the crack of dawn. Maybe fly shops and tackle shops think local fishermen will wait until 10:00 to come in an spend their hard earned money, but I for one will shop online line unless I happen to be near there when they open.

If most fishermen are like me, the tackle shops are losing a lot of money.

Bitching done for now.    

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Revenge Fishing

OK, short reminder of the last post. Out at the Trout Pond, had two good hits and broke off the pink/black Wooly Bugger on both.
Just a reminder of what the pink/black Wooly Bugger looks like
Reminder, we have our house on the market and all my fly tying gear is in storage. Took my pretty new truck over to the storage to get said fly tying gear.

Pretty new truck
Got the box home and it was only half of the tying gear. Back in the pretty new truck the next day to storage for the other box. Forgot it was in two boxes.

Got to storage and decided to turn around before getting said second box. There is enough space between the buildings for the truck and about 18" on each side. Pulling out, managed to hit one of those yellow, cement filled, posts that they put there to keep you from hitting the building. Smunched the pretty new truck. Guess that will take care of the crying. 

Smunched truck
With second box in the truck and a pelethora of four letter words used to describe my mood, I headed home.

Now, to the title of this post. Here is where my thinking is. The fish broke the leader and took the only two pink/black Wooly Buggers I had, thus making me go to the storage to get my fly tying gear and causing me to hit the yellow post. It was all the fishes fault. Therefore I was planning to hit the Trout Pond today and get revenge.

I tied up four pink/black Wooly Buggers, a couple of pinkies (courtesy of Alan at Small Stream  Reflections for reminding me of them), and a couple pinkie variants (pinkie with white palmered hackle, I didn't have any pink).

I would have loaded the truck with the float tube and fishing gear yesterday, but something made me wait. It was a good thing because around 3:30 yesterday afternoon we got hail, lots of hail.   

Lots of hail
Loaded up and at the Trout pond at 9:15 this morning, I flippered in the direction of the other side where the previously mentioned fish problem occurred.

Headed way over there
I flippered and stripped all over that side of the pond. I got one bump on the pink/black Wooly Bugger and one on the pinkie. That was it for several hours of stripping.

Yours truly
It wasn't because there weren't fish there. They planted yesterday. It was that I couldn't catch one for the life of me. I even went to the ever faithful Thin Mint to no avail.

Around 11:30 I gave up with the float tube and headed over to the camping side of the lake where those there were pulling in trout by the dozens. I put out one rod with Power Bait and my little Okuma with the pink Kastmaster. Still I didn't get so much as a driveby. Oh, they were catching all around me, but not me.

This is not me catching a fish.

Nor is this
This is a different one than the picture above

Not me either
See, everyone is catching but me. This was a very serious hit to my ego and you know that Leo's have a big ego. My wife tells me that my head is so fat that it's a wonder I can get through a door.

To put this in perspective, I am deflated and humbled. If I get another chance, I'll be right back there shortly to kick some trout butt. I've got some ideas.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Hate When That Happens

The plan was to meet with Yuki's Daughter (Marisa) at the Trout Pond to do a little fly fishing. Yuki is still dealing with the bad tooth thing so Marisa was going to fill in.

Late last night she had to cancel because of time constraints so I did the Trout Pond alone. When I say alone, I don't mean that because Marisa couldn't go, but that I was the only one out on the water. Sure there were a bunch of people fishing the shore, but no tubes, toons, or boats, just me.

On the way through check-in the girl told me they planted YESTERDAY. How good is that?

I geared up and with pink/black Wooly Bugger on my lake rod, started flippering around the back side of the pond. I wanted to give the pink/black Bugger a chance to redeem itself after that dismal showing last Friday.

Another fisherman or fisherbird as the case may be.
I got all the way to the back side without a nudge. I was just about to take off the pink/black Bugger when I got the first hit. When a fish hits and breaks a 4# leader with said pink/black Bugger still attached, that's a hit. No, it wasn't a bad knot or weak spot. It was a brand new leader.

I thought that maybe, because the fly was tied to the end of the leader, I'd snip off a few inches, you know to make it stronger, and tie on my only other pink/black Bugger.

Fifteen or so minutes later I got the second hit. Once again, hit, snap, and my only other pink/black Wooly Bugger was gone. I hate when that happens.   

Deflated, out of pink/black Wooly Buggers, and getting no interest in any other colors I did the only sensible thing. I flippered back to launch, put my fly rod away, and got my spinning rod with the pink Kastmaster.

I flippered back to the other side of the pond, positioned myself in the center and started working the Kastmaster in a 360. On one long cast, I finally hooked up.

It took a while to get the 2+ pound Rainbow to the net and once unhooked wiggled it in the water so it could regain some oxygen and off it went. Only thing I can say is that it was better that I had a rod with 4# line rather than my little Okuma with 2# because I think the pink Kastmaster would have gone they way of the Wooly Buggers. It was that good of a fight.

That was the only one I could scare up although I did have several bumps. Apparently there wasn't enough glue on the Kastmaster to make them stick. No booing please.

Tomorrow morning I'm off to storage to bring my fly tying gear back home and tie some more pink/black Wooly Buggers. There is also a good chance we (Me, and/or Yuki, and/or Marisa) might be back out there later this week.

Stay tuned.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

This Was Not Friday The 13th

Last Friday when Yuki and I attacked Lake Camanche, it was sunshine, blue skies, and warm. I know those of you back East are not familiar with that word (warm), but I have the deepest sympathy for you and hope the Siberian Express breaks soon.

The plan was for Yuki and I to hit the same spot the big Rainbows came out of last Friday. Yuki had to pass due to a bad tooth and a run in with an Endodontist yesterday, so I went it alone.

There was nothing sunshine and blue skies about the lake today. Foggy, cold, and damp was the weather, but I wasn't going to let a little thing like that stop me.

I got to the lake at 9:00, geared up the Float Tube Cumberland and headed out. The picture below is from a little cove to the right of the launch ramp. I figured I'd flipper around it and see if anything was shaking. There wasn't anything shaking, so I moved out to the lake and headed toward the cove we usually fish. 

The truck from the cove
 Once I got out in open water, you can see how cold and foggy it really was.

Just out into the lake
I didn't go very far beyond the cove as I wanted to work the black/pink Wooly Bugger (I'll get into that later) up and down that area. I spent a good couple hours flippering back and forth, but to no avail. There wasn't a fish in sight.

At 10:30 I called it a day and flippered back to launch. Once loaded up, I went over to the marina and got big cup of coffee and a Blueberry muffin. I drove over to our spot and with two lines of Power Bait out, devoured the muffin and sucked down the coffee. Nothing like a little food to perk up your spirits. Unfortunately, lifted spirits didn't produce fish, one. I did give it a good two hours, but it was destine to be a fishless day. One would have thought that with the Trout Derby tomorrow there would have been scads of fish there, but I guess not or at least not where I was fishing.  
At 1:00 I called it. I'd spent enough time wet, cold, and miserable for one day. I think that next time I'll try the pink/black Wooly Bugger (I've undubbed the name for lack of attracting fish) at the Trout Pond. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Melones, Damp, Cold, And Slim Pickings

Once again the weather guessers were wrong. There would be a little fog down in the Valley (Sacramento Valley), but not up in the Foothills.

I hit the fog just outside Jackson and negotiated my way to New Melones a trip of about 40 miles.

On top of the fog, I left the house before zero dark 30. Man what a drive.

Once I got to New Melones, I did manage to get the spot at the end of the launch ramp (no other idiot was out there at that time of the morning) and set out two rods with rainbow Power Bait. Did I mention it was damp and cold? It was damp and cold. 

Anyone got a fog horn?
Oh wait, there was one guy in a boat going "Hell Bend for Leather" out there somewhere. All I could do was hear him. I hope he could see where he was going.

Finally the sun came up and started burning off the fog.

Still cold and damp.
Now it was right around 8:00am. I've been fishing (and freezing) since I got there at 6:30 without as much as a drive by.
Almost gone
Right after 8:00 I got the first bite. At least I thought it was a bite. The rod bounced. I picked it up and there was a little bump so I set the hook. OK, fish on, then fish off. Guess I didn't hook it very well or it pulled out.

The between 8:00 and 9:00 I put three on the stringer, but small ones. Two at a stretched 11 inches and one at, maybe 12". Then nothing more so I packed up at 11:30 (Five hours of barely catching was enough) and headed over to Tuttletown where we fished last year.

I wanted to see what the lake looked like and was I disappointed.

The bottom launch ramp - Closed.
We fished here last year. I flippered around in the Float Tube Cumberland right there.

High and Dry
Maybe we'll get more rain.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Dub Thee, The Breast Cancer Bugger

I was doing some thinking about this Wooly Bugger as I drove home from the supermarket this morning.

When I got home I went out on the Net and searched colors for Wooly Buggers and although there are a zillion colors out there, this is not one of them.

My thoughts went to, first the pink and as everyone knows pink is the Breast Cancer Cure color. Then I thought, black for cancer, pink for the cure. Thus the Breast Cancer Bugger. 

The Brest Cancer Bugger.
Here is my recipe:

Hook: TMC 5262 size 8 or 10
Thread: Danville 6/0 Black
Tail: Black Marabou (I use J. Fair's Premium Marabou)
Flash: 2 strands Flashabou
Rib: Ultra Copper Wire, Small
Body: Pink Medium Chenielle
Hackle: Black (  I use J. Fair's Premium Bugger Hackle, Palmered)
Bear: Pirit River Bright 4.00 mm 5/32 Gold. 

I don't know if there is any dispute to the name or the color, but if there is please let me know. 

Yuki and I are going out again this week. Both with fly rods. Stay tuned.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Are You Superstitious?

Today is Friday the 13th, just in case you let it slip your mind. You're welcome.Which brings us to the title of this post, Are You Superstitious? I think most fishermen and fisherwomen are to some extent. Today being Friday the 13th (there are three this year) one would think the best place to be is under the covers in bed. Nice and safe.

Not Me and Yuki.

I mentioned a while back that Yuki and I had a plan for fishing Lake Camanche in his kayak and the Float Tube Cumberland. The plan was to leave one truck at the North Shore parking lot and drive out to the island and launch.

OK, Plan B was to launch at the launch ramp and flipper/paddle out to the island. I only found one place to launch out on the island and we would have had to drag everything about the distance of Chicago to Miami. So we launched at the launch ramp. 

Where we usually fish. A view from the lake.
As we flippered/paddled past our usual fishing spot, wait a second, let me back up a little. I stripped a black Wooly Bugger around the docks, across the launch area and as we approached our ususal spot, changed to a pink/black Wooly Bugger. Never seen one, huh.

Here's the story. Way back when I started tying flies that were uglier than sin, I tied a bunch of Wooly Buggers, just for practice mind you, and what fell out of the vise was a pink/black, orange/black, chartreuse/black and other assorted weird colored Wooly Buggers.

Out of my Wooly Bugger fly box and on to my rod went the pink/black one. Here's my logic: If the fish like the rainbow pink Kastmaster, why not try the pink/black Wooly Bugger because the black one sure wasn't doing anything.

Then we ran across the guy with the fish finder who said all the fish were right "there", but on the bottom. I made the comment that it wouldn't do me any good fishing a fly rod. That was right before I nailed a two pound Rainbow on said pink/black Wooly Bugger. Shazam! 

So much for guys with fish finders. Yuki and I agreed that was cheating. Sorry if you use one.

Then Yuki started yelling about having a big fish on. There was nothing I could do because I was quite a ways away so I just kept an eye on him while he brought this Mongo Rainbow Trout to hand. He thought it was at least 10 pounds, I opted for more like 5. it turns out it weighed in on the handy dandy Berkeley Digital Scale at 9 lbs. 2 oz. A new personal best (last one was the Cutbow at 7'15") for Yuki.

Moving toward the island (which you can drive to still, even after all that rain we got last weekend) I took a couple shots of the areas I mentioned before, that you'd need repelling gear to get down to the water. See what I mean?

One area
Another area

The island
It was a nice flipper out and back. 72 degrees, sunshine and blue skies with a water temperature of 56.7. All in all a very nice day.

The wind started blowing at 10:30 right when we reached the island (perfect timing if I do say so myself) so we did a U-Turn and let the wind push us back toward launch. Hardly had to flipper at all. 

As we crossed our usual spot (still stripping the pink/black Wooly Bugger) I hooked into one and away it went. I knew it was big, but not HOW big.

Yuki said it took me 10 minutes to bring it to hand. I didn't care, it could have taken me all afternoon. A quick picture and it flipped itself back over the side and away it went for another day. Our mutual guess was about the same as Yuki's somewhere in the 9 pound range. 

9 pounds +
That would make this my personal best and personal best on a fly rod. Here's the funny part, I brought what I thought was my 6wt with intermediate sinking line for Yuki and my 6 wt with floating line for me. Yuki decided to use spinning gear and it's a good thing because the second rod was my 3 wt. Can you imagine the fun I would have had with this 9 pounder on a 3 wt.? Yahoo!

Yuki when we got back to launch
So, two personal bests and a two pounder on Friday the 13th. Better than staying in bed.

Here's that pink/black Wooly Bugger. You can bet that one will stay in my arsenal.

pink/black Wooly Bugger
On the way out, Yuki stopped at the marina and they took his picture, gave him a Lake Camanche mug and are going to feature him on Facebook.

A big one
One hell of a day.