Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tenkara - WOW

Headed out at 0730 and stopped at Cooks Station for coffee. Can't break the superstition. Got to the Cosumnes River at Cat Creek Rd. at 0800. It's not very far from home. Wadered up, got my vest on, and took my Tenkara rod AND my fly rod with floating line, just in case. If I had another disaster like last time, I was not going to walk all the way back to the truck.

I started in the pool just below the one by the bridge. You can see it in the picture on the bottom. 

Wasn't long before this first little brown was brought to hand. FIRST FISH EVER ON A TENKARA ROD. 

Tenkara catch #1
But was that it? By no means was it the only one. The second one was this little Rainbow.

Catch #2
Followed by this brown. Check the red coloring on the back fin. First one I've seen with this good color.

#3 Check the color
Fish #4 was this Rainbow taken on an orange Stimulator. Hell, they'd bite anything.

By now, the newness of catching on the Tenkara rod was wearing off, well not so much the catching as the photographing every fish so I put the camera away. Don't think I didn't appreciate the little guys hitting everything I put into the water, but after four I figured you'd get the idea.

I hit one pool a ways down the creek, by the way I was fishing down stream which is contrary to all dry fly fishing rules and regulations, and I had one hit, well let me explain. The orange stimulator in the picture above was floating with the current and I could see the fish had a bead on it. I could see the fish homing in on the fly. I started to lift the rod for the hook set and I could see him take the fly and then I could see him swimming away without the fly. Quick little buggers they are.

OK, so why the picture of fish #6? This little guy, when I hooked him, gave me a two foot aerial jump out of the creek. Wish I would have had that on video, but well, humans only have two hands. He also granted me a couple of other aerial jumps, but not like the first one.  

I could have walked the creek again and probably added to the six I caught, two I lost at my feet, and dozen or so that I missed the hook set on, but about 2 1/2 hours of rocks hopping is all that my body will handle. Not to worry, they will be there the next time. I think I'll try PIPI Valley next. Same creek, just further downstream. 

So, am I hooked on Tenkara. You bet. I can't say I had too much fun today because the song says "You can't have too much fun" or for that matter, too much money, but I'll never know about that, but any way you drive it, it was a ball. For all you small stream guys, I took this picture for you. It's the pool under the bridge and the one in the middle toward the top is where I started. 

Middle Fork of the Cosumnes
Can't wait to do it again.

Till next time, and as always, thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

American River Pictures

Back from my Granddaughter's graduation. Tomorrow they are off to San Francisco for the day and Monday morning she's off to Europe. Wow, they grow up fast.

OK, check this out. I got the replacement parts for my Tenkara rod in the mail today. I broke it on Wednesday and got the replacements on Saturday. How's that for Customer Service? Having spent 40 years in Customer Service, I'd call that Superb. 

Here is a picture of the Shad flies I got, I think two years ago. I started out with six of each and since I've not caught a Shad on my fly rod, you can see how many the bushes have eaten.

Shad Flies
OK, now on to the only exciting thing that happened Yesterday. I've watched the geese all year and this is the first time I've seen the family. Mom, Dad, and 3.0 baby gooses or maybe geeses.

Goose Family

That's it for today. Next stop, Tenkara what ever day I get out to the creek up the hill. First stop is the pool where I caught the Rainbow by the tail.

Till then.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Shad in the American River

Book Update: The paperbacks have arrived and I'm waiting for the hardbacks. They will should be here early next week. I've sent out notifications.

Sitting here writing this, there has been so much hail in the last 15 minutes, it looks like it snowed. Everything is white. 

Not a lot to report on the trip to Sacramento for Shad on the American River. I got there at 0900 and after stupidly wading in my sneakers up to my ankles, I realized that I couldn't get the fly out far enough so I went back to the truck and put on my waders. Once I did that, I could get out past knee deep and the fly out about 35 feet, but it was all for naught. I managed to lose 3 flies in the trees and the bottom of the river, but nothing that looked like a Shad showed it's scaly body.

I moved to the spot where we normally fish and found it occupied, so I moved down river 50 feet or so and started swinging a pink jig on my spinning rod. The two guys in the regular spot landed two while I was there, but they were on the small side (2 or 3 pounds). I, on the other hand, landed nothing.

I'm not going to make any excuses like the water level was running low, or I'm a little out of touch with the feel of the hit, or it's a little early in the year, or the two guys had the good spot, so don't expect any. I'll just wait week or so and give it another try. Let a few more get up the river.

I took a couple of pictures, but forgot to upload them so I'll get that done and post them tomorrow when I get back from my Granddaughter's High School Graduation. When I graduated in 1964 we went to an all night party at Disneyland in Anaheim, California (I lived in Los Angeles at the time). My Granddaughter is going to Europe for two weeks. My, how things change. Although, I have to commend her, she's worked hard to save money to pay for the trip (with the help of Mom & Dad, Grandma's, and Grandpa's) and have some spending cash. I think the destinations are France, England, and maybe Spain. Maybe I'll get a picture or two when she gets back.

Next week? Don't know, the jury is still out on that one. Maybe a run up the hill is in order. We'll see.

Till then.



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tenkara Wednesday

I've been following Mikes site Tenkara Sasquatch and told Mike that I'd keep an eye out for Sasquatch while I was using my Tenkara Iwana this morning.  

Got to the creek at 0815 after a stop for coffee at Cooks Station. Got my vest on, Tenkara rod out, and a box of flies I've designated for Tenkara fishing. I walked about a half mile from the truck planning on working my way upstream to the pool under the bridge. 

I had just got to the creek and was about to make my first cast when this big, hairy, stinky thing ran out of the bushes, and grabbed my Tenkara rod (I think I heard the word "Mine"). In the fight that ensued, the rod broke at the second section from the tip. Having broken the rod I guess he figured it wasn't any good to him any more, he turned and bolted back into the brush and was gone. I didn't even get a chance to snap a picture. 

Can you believe that? Probably not because if you did, I'd start worrying about you. Here's the real story. I got to the spot alright and opened the Tenkara rod attempting my first cast into a small pool, only managing to get the fly stuck in the tree behind me. I got the fly out and instead of trying to cast again, I started to collapse the the rod and move to a more open spot. As I got to the second section from the tip, I guess it was stuck more than I though and it just snapped in two. I never even got a fly in the water and Tenkara fishing was over.

A half mile hike back to the truck for my fly rod with floating line and a half mile back to where I started. No Sasquatch intervention this time. I guess he only does Tenkara. Tied on a Royal Wulff and fished this hole and that hole and finally got a take. Brought this little native Rainbow to hand long enough to snap a picture and back he went for another day.   

Native Rainbow

Rainbow came from here
Fished here and there and finally stopped at a pool just below the pool at the bridge. Hooked this little brown on a yellow stimulator. Again, a quick picture and back for another day.

Native Brown

Brown came from here

Over the next hour or so I got several hits on stimulators, but missed them all. Then I went to the upper pool, but couldn't get any interest. The water was too turbulent and I would have had to use a half ounce split shot just to get a fly to the bottom of the pool. There was no controlling a dry on the surface. I crossed the bridge and tried the pool from the other side, but it wasn't any better. I walked a hundred yards down stream and fished a cut under a big tree with a black gnat and got several hits, but couldn't manage to get a hook up.

Then I came back to the same pool I caught the brown in and after a couple of missed hits, landed another native rainbow but in very odd way. He hit a green stimulator and as I raised the rod, I guess he got tangled in the line because I reeled him in backwards. The line was around the fish and the hook on the fly caught the line putting the fishes tail in a noose, if you will. Got him loose and back in the water for another day, but didn't take a picture because I didn't want to embarrass him after the way he was caught.   

Packed up at 1:30 and headed home. If my body isn't too destroyed from today, I plan on a trip down to the American River for a little early Shad fishing on Friday. Rumor has it that they are in the river and they are running about 5 pounds, so I'll just have to check it out. I'll let you know.

Till then.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The New Net

This is a follow-up on the debacle from Thursday May 10th at Middle Bar Bridge. Just a short reminder of what happened. Caught one and had the line break trying to get it over the rail without the aid of a net. The next three were caught with the net and put on a stringer. After the third one was caught, the rope on the stringer snagged, the hooks popped open, and dropped all three back into the river (one was retrieved, the other two headed straight for the bottom). The one retrieved was then put in an ice chest as well as the fifth one caught. 

I liken this little comedy of catching the trout with the net, as it was hoisted up to the bridge (remember there is no land access to the water there) to catching Asian Carp in the Illinois River.

The first thing I did when I got home was go online to Cabela' and order a new stringer because the cheapie one I’ve had most of my life was finally ready for the trash can. The new one was twice as heavy as the old one and should last the rest of my life. You can’t go cheap on something that goes “twang” and drops all your fish back in the river.
The second thing I ordered is called a Pop Net. Many of the people that fish the bridge have a similar net, but this one has a couple of cool extras. It’s designed for fishing off a pier or a bridge. It starts out as a 10 inch loop and opens to a 30 inch net. When you’re done, just fold it back to 10 inches and it goes in the sack it comes in or you can stuff it into a bucket. It comes with 30 feet of rope (more than enough to get it to the water) and has a capacity of 100 lbs. Where is that big trout when you need it to test the net?

Bridge Net

OK, off to the bridge yesterday morning. Got there at the usual 0830 and there was a guy and his dad set up in the spot I had last time. Again this was the “slot” where the fish were being caught. No bribing with donuts this time since it bombed so bad last time. By the time I got there, they already had 8 or 9 in the bucket. I fished the next section over and was rewarded with one about 10 inches, BUT I did get a chance to use my handy dandy new net and it worked like a charm. I fished for about 3 ½ hours and only caught that one with one other bite that I missed. The “slot” next to me kept providing bite after bite, but they missed most of them. 

The guys next to me wrapped it up at Noon and since they were one short (they had 9) of limits for both, I volunteered the one I had to give them 5 each. After all, he knew me from reading my articles in the paper. When I first walked up, he said” Aren’t you the guy who writes for the Ledger Dispatch? I read your column all the time”. He also mentioned something about me giving away all the secret information about fishing Middle Bar Bridge, but didn’t throw anything at me. 

Now, there are fishermen that tend to use excuses to why they don’t catch fish. It could be the moon phase although we’ve debunked that one. It could be the wrong bait, although with a minimum of twelve poles strung across the bridge, I don’t see how we missed offering anything. OR it could be the River Otter that was present all morning. He or she was doing a mighty fine job of providing breakfast and lunch to the little ones (one has to assume he or she wasn’t eating all the fish that was being hauled up into the brush on the side of the river). Occasionally the Otter would swim out to where our lines

were and disappear under the water for an extended period of time coming up with, yet another fish. In between diving for fish the Otter would lay on its back and look at us. I think it was giving us the finger. (Can an Otter do that?). It showed absolutely no fear of us knife toting humans. Cute (I can’t say little because it was a good 2 feet long) guy or girl as long as it’s not your stringer he or she has stripped of those had caught trout. Something like that tends to take the cuteness out of an Otter. 

OK, that’s the update from the bridge.

Tomorrow is Tenkara on the creek, Wednesday. Stay tuned.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Annular Eclipse

A tour through the Annular Eclipse. The best spots would have been Eureka, California, Redding, California, or Reno Nevada. These shots are from around Dunnigan, California. 

5:19 pm

5:53 pm

5:54 pm

5:55 pm

6:02 pm
6:25 pm

These shots from my front yard.

6:02 pm
6:25 pm


6:05 pm


6:14 pm

6:16 pm

6:21 pm

6:23 pm

6:24 pm

6:27 pm

6:48 pm
This is what the Eclipse looks like through the trees and on the side of the house.

OK, that's it for the Eclipse. Tomorrow I'll be doing a post on Middle Bar Bridge and my new net.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Pictures

Back home after a trip to Sacramento to have breakfast with my Son and an expensive (isn't it always expensive) trip to Sam's Club.

First picture is Roy working Bear River Reservoir.

This is Don.


A view across Silver Lake.

Silver Lake
Another view in a different direction.

Silver Lake
Sorry, no pictures of the hamburgers.

Caples Lake

Caples Lake

Caples Lake

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Roy and Don and Me

Book Update: I've gotten the two author copies of the books and I've decided that the original price I listed ($24.99 Hardback and $15.99 Paperback) is too much. It seems that the publisher bases the selling price on a specific number of pages is a certain price. So, those that have given me orders, I hope will be pleased to find out I've lowered the price to $15.00 for the Hardback (this includes that little amount for Jerry Brown) and $10.00 for Paperbacks (including a little for Jerry). Postage and handling will be minimal as I've set it up for a flat rate across the country. The books will still be a week or two out (they are mighty slow printing them), but when they get here, I'm ready to get them right out. I'll send you a heads up email with the total cost and follow it up with a PayPal invoice. Thanks for bearing with me through this initial period.

Now on to fishing.   

Picked up Roy and Don at 0730 and headed to Bear River Reservoir with the usual stop at Cooks Station for coffee. Got to Bear at 0800 and put out lines. Nothing we tried produced anything. Worms under a bobber, lures, Power Bait on the bottom, nothing. Skunk x 3.

Next stop Silver Lake. Again, nothing worked and God knows we tried everything. Again skunk x 3. 

At 1130 we stopped at the Kirkwood Inn & Saloon for burgers all around. Good place to stop for lunch if you're in the area. Nice country atmosphere and good food. 

Just down the street (Highway 88) a mile or so is Caples Lake. Stopped at the dead tree area we fish a lot and once again skunk x 3. Does this skunk have anything to do with Don not getting a cup of coffee this morning? Hmmmm.

Once I get back from Sacramento tomorrow, I'll post the pictures from today. I had already started this post before I left this morning and didn't want to fiddle around with moving the pictures up and down and trying to get them lined up and all that crap.    

Pictures tomorrow. 


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mokelumne River Today

Don and I got to the Middle Bar Bridge at 0830 and set up in the middle of the bridge. I put out one rod with chartreuse Power Bait on a new type of slip sinker rig. The other rod went out with the standard slip sinker rig and a #6 bait hook with two red Power Eggs, one white Power Egg, and a slathering of Pro-Cure garlic scent. More on what happened in a second.

The new slip sinker rig went something like this (remember I mentioned I wanted to use something new out at New Melones because of the rocks). Slip one end of a #7 barrel swivel (I'll call this swivel #1) on the line and tie another (swivel #2) to the line. On the other end of swivel #1 tie about a foot of line and attach a Bass Casting Sinker on the end. In this case I was using a 1/2 oz. because of the current. Tie on the other end of swivel #2 - 18" of Fluorocarbon leader and a #18 gold treble hook.  Got it? No, good because it didn't work worth a shit. It got all tangled up and wrapped around itself. So much for that idea. Reeled it in and went back to a 1/2 oz. egg sinker.    

Remember this from day before yesterday?

Not Crap on the outhouse
This is what the nest looked like today. Finished, I think.

The finished product
And this was the little bird that was very unhappy I was anywhere near it's nest. They're kind of like that. By the way, those are the hot new tires on my truck that I put on two days before it started snowing a couple of months ago.

The owner
Back to fishing. It's been the standard that the hot place to fish on the Middle Bar Bridge was in a certain corner. If you're not there at O' Dark 30, you don't have a chance for the spot. Since Don and I got there at 0830 we were exiled to the center of the bridge even though I brought donuts. Should have gotten some extra compensation just for that, but Nooooo.  

So I have two rods out and Don had two rods out and they are side by side covering an area of about 20 feet. The first fish came shortly after we got there on the rod O X O O here (X). Mine are the two on the left, Don's are the two on the right. This has importance so pay attention. Keep in mind the bridge is about 10 or 12 feet off the water and no land access. I got a good tight line on the fish and slowly lifted it up to the bridge and just as I got it to the rail, picked up the rod tip to bring the fish over and the leader snapped. Short distance release.

Thirty minutes later, fish #2 was on this rod O X O O. This time I brought it up and Don snagged it with my net. Note to self: get one of those nets (kind of like a crab net) for the bridge. I put it on the stringer and dropped it over the back side of the bridge.

About 30 minutes later fish #3 was on rod O X O O. Mine again. Same as before, lifted it up and Don snagged it with the net. Works good on a pound, pound and a half fish, but would be tough with anything larger. Put it on the stringer. There is a point to this stringer stuff.  

Again, it seemed like a fish every 30 minutes or so, fish #4 was on this rod O X O O and same snag by Don. I put it on the stringer and dropped it over the side. Zing when the stinger, snap went the rope, and the three stringer hooks popped open dropping all three fish back into the water. One of the guys that had one of those drop down nets ran over and managed to catch one, but the other two were gone. The stringer was destroyed, two of the three fish were gone and Don's Mother and Dad (you know Roy) were pretty much out a trout dinner which was the main purpose of today's trip.

The idea here was to get them a nice trout dinner tomorrow night when they get up here, so the rods were back in the water and again, about 30 minutes later, fish #5 was on this rod O X O O. We got that one up and into Don's ice chest along with the other survivor of the stringer debacle.

Oh, way back when, I switched the rod here X O O O to two red and one white Power Eggs with garlic, but I don't know what it was with that one rod. Don was fishing the same and that one rod was catching every fish. I saw a couple other fish caught earlier in the day, but that was it. I hope the guys still there after we left had better luck, because there wasn't any other fish caught when we left.  

I pulled out at 2:00pm to make a stop in town and then home. I think next week, I'm going to wander back up the hill and see what's shaking.

Till then.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mokelumne River

Book Update: I talked to the publisher a few minutes ago and they want me to look at the two books I'm getting and make sure there are no errors. They should be here tomorrow or Thursday and as soon as I look them over, I'm to call and they will send out the ones for you guys. So, keep your fingers crossed, maybe another week and I'll have them in my paws and can get them out to you. 

Took a drive to the Upper Mokelumne (water temperature 53 degrees) to give it a try with my fly rod. I started at the spot where you can park by the first outhouse. Walking down to the water, I picked up a golf tee laying on the side of the road. What is it with me, golf balls, golf tees, and fishing? I was able to wade knee deep and reach across the river. On the 5th or 6th swing of a Thin Mint, I got a bump. That was it for that area. I did change to a black WB and then an olive WB, but no more interest.

Standing downstream of a log, I noticed something shiny on the back side and found this Rapala that someone lost. Normally I would put this on my window sill with the other "found" stuff, but I think I'll put this one in my tackle box. It was not lost very long ago.

Rapala something

Then I moved to the day use area at what I call the top. Last year, if you will recall, I tried this spot when the fish were surface feeding and I couldn't get a bite to save my life. This time I went in with my waders on so I could get all the way across the river. Guess what? Still couldn't get a bite to save my life.

I packed up and headed back downstream in search of a hole to fish. I found a nice one and swung a Thin Mint, WB in black and olive, and two of the flies I got from David Swart, but to no avail.

At the truck, when I was moving to the next hole, I snapped a picture of the California Poppy (California State Flower), a sure sign of summer.
California Poppies
I also snapped a shot of this poison Oak right above the truck. Itching yet?

Poison Oak
Nothing at any of the other holes I tried, but there are fish in those waters. I just have to find where they are hiding.  

On the way back into town I decided to take a look at the Middle Bar Bridge and see what was going on. Remember, I was there in January and watch the deer run across the river. Not today, a good 6 to 8 foot deep at the bridge. I parked in the lot and tried to get a shot of a pair of Swallows (you know the kind that return to San Juan Capistrano each year), but they wouldn't sit still long enough. The picture below is their nest they are building. In the little dip in the middle is where they will lay the eggs. The Swallow is a protected species in California.   

Not crap on the outhouse
So after I got done playing with the birds, I walked out on the bridge just a this gentleman hooked up. 

Fish On
Snapped a shot with the fish on the bridge. It was about 11 inches.

Fish on the bridge
And a shot of of him with his limit. Being the gentleman he was, he had 5 and was heading home unlike those at Angels Creek the night before and on opening day.

That's a limit
On Thursday, I'm going to meet Don (Roy, my neighbor's son) and we're going to do some bait dunking at the bridge. I'll let you know how that goes. 

That's it for today. Till next time.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

I Was Blown Away

I just read a post over on Howard's blog WDSTK 3 Handcrafted Lures that was a translation of a an article called "The House of the Fisherman in Russia".

That instantly brought to mind what happened a week ago (OK, I'm a little slow looking at this kind of stuff). On my Stats page (and I don't know if everyone's the same as mine) there is a tab called audience. I know I have followers around the world, as many of us do, but I wasn't aware of where they all come from until I looked at this stat.

It's called "Pageviews by country" and this is how mine breaks out.

United States, then Russia, then Germany, followed by the Netherlands, Ukraine, Canada, Spain (Hi Carlos), UK, Japan, and finally Malaysia (Hi Mizlan).

I know there is a language barrier between countries, but I want to say Thank You to those, from all the countries across the globe, that stop by. I am honored that you read what I write.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Miserable, I Tell Ya.

An Upcountry, update of sorts. I wanted to see what the lakes up the hill looked like so I took a little drive this morning. I'll start at the top. 

 First stop was Red Lake. As you can see below, a little hard to fish between the ice bergs.

Red Lake at the dam

I drove to the other side of the lake which was pretty much open, but as I drove in over this snow pile and that snow pile, it started to get a bit mushy and being the only one within a ten mile radius, decided I'd be safe rather than sorry. Even though I do have 4 wheel drive, one can still get stuck.

Next stop was Caples Lake. Still iced over for the most part. A little open water at a few of the edges, but not enough to get anything out more than a few feet.

Corner of the dam at Caples

Across the dam at Caples
I stopped at the spillway on the road side. The sandy side that I like to fish was still buried under snow. You can see that in the last picture. A good sized piece of open water so I grabbed a couple of rods and climbed down the rocks to the edge.

Caples at the spillway
I parked in the area between these two pictures and put out one rod with Rainbow Power Bait and one with chartreuse Power Bait and a little Anise which is normally good in Caples.

To the right of the shot above

As I sat, the weather deteriorated as the minutes went by. I had hopes of getting in a little fishing time before the awaited (by whom I don't know) storm arrives, but it was not to be. The longer I sat, the cloudier and windier it got, to a point I finally packed up and headed down hill. As I was putting my gear in the truck, the wind blew the door shut and almost me with it. I estimate maybe 25 mph. and gusting higher.

Just before leaving I took this shot for Ed. Caples Lake is at the 7800 ft elevation. Still a good amount of snow up there. You can see the sandy side where I like to fish. Can't? It's right there under the snow.

Another for Ed.
Next stop was Silver Lake (elevation 7261 ft.). Lake was ice free, but very windy and cold.

Final stop was Bear River Reservoir. Lake is ice free and almost full. The gate to the dam is still closed and I didn't feel like a Cardio walk this morning so I passed. Besides the storm was coming.

Still waiting for the books to get here and as soon as they do, I'll give everybody a shout.

Till next time.