Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No Tenkara Yet

Monday was spent getting new tires on the truck. Tuesday was too windy (10 to 20 mph with gusts to 45). Today......well we've gotten a good two inches of snow so far, which was the reason for the new tires. Snow here means mucho rain in the valley.

I spent a little time at the tying bench attempting to tie Tenkara flies. I think the hackle I got is a bit too large. I would post a picture, but don't want to scare you.

Tomorrow, same as today. Maybe Friday or the weekend. Saw a video out on YouTube with a guy fishing and catching (have to make that distinction) in a lake. I can't wait.

Till next time.

Mark

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Fly Fishing Show - Pleasanton

My son and I got to the show at 10:30 (Opened at 10:00) with no line at check in just as I planned. The first stop after a 2 hour drive was the bathroom. As we were crossing the room, I noticed this booth and ran into this guy you all know, Daniel from Tenkara USA. Flash on the camera was off. More on that later.


Shoreman & Daniel
We wandered around the four rows of vendors and stopped in to talk with Frank Pisciotta from the California Fly Fishing blog. Frank and I had met a year ago at the ISE show in Sacramento, but I wanted him to meet my son. Turns out that when I mentioned that Ken was the Maintenance Manager for In-N-Out Burger, they had eaten there the night before. Nice to know your friends are supporting company your son works for.

Anther person I wanted to say Hi to was John Hazel (Deschutes Angler Fly Shop in Maupin, Oregon) who I met during the ill fated trip to the Deschutes River for Steelhead in 2009, but John was busy, so I passed.

There wasn't as much in the way of vendors as I expected (4 rows). The rest of the show was Seminars, casting demonstrations, and the guys tying flies. All I saw from the guys tying flies was a bunch of yakking and not much tying, at least while we were there.

Back to Daniel from Tenkara USA. We chatted about Tenkara rods  and he showed me the Iwana 12' rod, line, and flies. I told him about the last trip to New Melones and the surface feeders. When he told me I would be able to catch fish in the 10" to 20" range, that was it. How hard can it be using a really light rod (2.7oz.), line the length of the rod, and you only have 4 flies to choose from, AND the flies are big enough (size 8 to 16) that even my fat fingers should be able to tie them.

Since Mike from Troutrageous! has been bugging me to go Tenkara, I took the plunge. I got the Iwana 12' rod, line, line holders, and a little bottle with 3 flies. Another factor in doing this is with the lack of rain this year (unless we get creamed in March & April) all the creeks and rivers upcountry are going to be small streams and perfect for Tenkara.

Disclaimer: Howard Levett from Wind Knots and Tangled Lines had no influence (A little private joke, here) in my purchasing this Tenkara rod.

It took us just over a hour to cover the whole show and we were back on the road home by 11:45. 

Here is another WOW. KCRA Channel 3 did a piece on the DFG stocking the little ponds in the Sacramento area with trout to encourage the "Urban" fisherman to get out and fish. Can you say "Combat Fishing?" They did mention that those over 16 need a fishing license, but with the lack of Game Wardens, who's going to check?

Well, that's it for this post. Shoreman goes Tenkara. We'll see how it works the next time out, if the opportunity presents itself.

Mark

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Are We A Superstitious Lot?

First, here is the photo of the first fish from New Melones. Not the best photo I've ever taken, but you get the idea. Don't know why I always have my mouth open when I get my picture taken.

The first fish from New Melones
I ask this question (Are We A Superstitious Lot?) because on the drive home yesterday from New Melones a thought crossed my mind. Since I've been using the new rod holder, I've yet to catch a fish. Not that I haven't caught any fish, but not one when the rod was leaning against the holder.

The new rod holder
I caught one at the Trout Pond, but I was using the old cheap metal rod holders that stick in the ground and the one yesterday on my fly rod. But in the places where there are fish to catch, New Melones on February 2nd I had one on and the sinker got stuck in the rocks. I can't recall once where I've had a fish on and the the sinker got stuck. Lake Amador on February 7th, I got skunked and both rods were on the new holder. I usually catch at least one there. And then on the 21st at New Melones, there were other guys who caught fish (like the guy next to me with the single hook, split shot, and chartreuse Power Bait) and I only got a bite. 

I'm going back to the old way of using the cheap metal one or leaning the rod on a rock or my tackle box for the next couple of months and see if there might be something to this. I'll let you know.

Fly Fishing Show tomorrow in Pleasanton, CA. 

Till the next adventure.

Mark

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sometimes I Scare Myself

After all the crazyness yesterday, my wife suggested I go back out to New Melones, with my fly rod, and settle the need to attack those surface supping fish. I think is was because she wanted me to stop pounding my head on the computer keyboard (She's pretty protective of our computers being the IT Guru and all).

I got there at 0915 because I had to stop for gas and coffee, but by that time all the good places were taken. The first thing I noticed was the surface supping fish were at it again. I rigged up with a Scientific Anglers 9ft 6X leader. I wanted to go as light as I could and I didn't have any 7X.

The first fly I put on from My new Baetis Cycle fly collection was the Big Bear Emerger in size 20. I didn't know whether they were eating in the film or on the surface. Wasn't long before I got the first crashing hit, but I wasn't fast enough.

After a while, there was no more interest in the emerger, so I changed to a CDC Para Spinner in size 18. The light was changing and the little white fluff (very technical fly tying jargon) on top, made it easier to see. The dry on the surface did the trick and the first Rainbow (small, maybe 10 inches) came to hand. One of the guys fishing next to me took pictures and as soon as I get them, I'll  put them on a post. As is the practice with first catches, it went back for another day.

I continued to get hits, and misses until that fly didn't get anymore interest so I changed to a Parachute BWO (bigger white fluff) and got a few more hits and misses. Does this scare you that I'm talking like this? Scares me.

About 11:00am the surface feeding about disappeared with just a sip here and a sip there so I went back to the truck and got my box of dry flies to try something new. The BWO's were still present, but in a very small quantity, unlike yesterdays hatch. I put on a Royal Wulff in size 12 (thought I'd something a little bigger) and what trout could resist a Royal Wulff. Apparently those because I didn't even get a second look. The second choice was a Yellow Humpy in size 12, but nothing here either.

At this point I suspected that it was over for the day and rather than pack up I threw a couple of nymphs under an indicator and a Thinmint just for practice. The count for the day was Shoreman 1, fish 8.

Wow, matched the hatch on this one. I guess all that reading did some good, but if something else is hatching, I'm in trouble. I'm satisfied that I was right about what was happening and now I can stop the head banging.

Till next time.

Mark  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What Is Wrong With Me????

The plan for today was to go to a part of New Melones Reservoir called Tuttletown. Got to  the lake at 0900, 30 minutes later than I usually hit one of the lakes because this one is about 20 miles further than most. I wanted to use a new rig I had in mind because of the rock problem at the Glory Hole area I fished back at the beginning of the month. This is a left and right look at where I took up residence at the lake. Parking was only 20 feet behind me. 

To the left

To the right
Once I got settled and was ready to put out my rods, you can see in the right hand shot that there are some rocks, but not many. Straight out from where I was there were no rocks at all. The problem I ran into was weeds, so to circumvent that all I had to do was lengthen the leader. I'll save my plan for the next time I go to Glory Hole. While I was sitting and waiting for fish to hit, I took the next two pictures of some islands across the lake. 

Across the lake to the right

Across the lake to the left
I got one good hit, but lost it and then I watched all the surface action going on in front of me. The fish seemed to be working something in the film, but I couldn't see anything in the air so what ever it was, it was in the water. Around 11:00 I started noticing little, and I mean little, bugs here and there. As the hour went by, more little bugs appeared.

Then it hit me, I was in the middle of a hatch of some kind. I managed to snag one out of the air and guess what, Blue Winged Olive. Which brings me to the title of this post, did I have my fly rod and my new size 18 & 20 Baetis fly set? Not on your life. So here I sat with trout sipping something (probably nymphs and emergers, remember I'm an Entomologist in training) the film not more that 5 feet off shore at times and me with my fingers stuck somewhere (I won't go there). I could have dangled a fly in the water and not even had the leader touch the water they were so close.

One would think, since this happened once before and it wasn't all that long ago, that the bonehead that 's writing this blog post would have had his fly rod with him.

At least some of the fishermen (other than yours truly) that were out there today caught a fish or two. Two guys parked next to me and one put out his rod with a single hook, two small split shot, and chartreuse Power Bait maybe 15 feet from shore. In less than two minutes he hooked up and landed a nice Rainbow. Now here's the problem, he was right next to me and his name was Mark. I'm sure that the Rainbow was aiming for my line and got his by mistake just because of the similarity of the name. What do you think? Just kidding, Mark and his friend (and I apologize for not getting his name) were really nice guys and since Mark had a bad catching year in 2011, I glad he was starting out 2012 in a positive way.

As I was leaving, I snapped this picture of the view in front of where I was parked.   

Right in front of the truck
To sum up this post, I've got to get back out there with my fly rod that is, as long as the wind is not blowing. When there was the least amount of wind, there was no more surface feeding.

Till the next time this bonehead blogger does something to dazzle you.

Mark

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Strike

A while back I did a post on Jigsaw Puzzles and asked "Do you jigsaw?" We are still at it and this is the latest and also appropriate for a fishing blog. Thought I'd just show you the finished product.

First Strike
Off to New Melones tomorrow to fish a different area. If you remember, I had trouble with the sinker getting stuck in the rocks. Got an idea and I'll let you know how it works.

Till then.

Mark

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lake Pardee Opener - Ouch

Lake Pardee closes at the beginning of November each year and reopens on Presidents Holiday Weekend. Today was the much anticipated opening of the trout (and other fish) season at the Lake.

Last year it was a wild and wooly time. There were limits of Rainbows being caught hand over fist. There wasn't a complaint to be had.

I left the house at my customary 0730 and after a stop at Starbucks for coffee, drove out Highway 88 to Ione Buena Vista Rd. From Ione Buena Vista Rd I turned left on Stony Creek Rd for the two mile trip to the entrance to Lake Pardee Recreation area. I mention all these turns because the lady at check in said that the line at 0500 this morning was almost out to Ione Buena Vista Rd when she opened. She estimated about 300 cars, trucks, and vehicles with boats were in line.

Leaving home at 0730 I figured I'd miss the crowd and when I got to check in I had been right, I was the 5th car in line. Once inside, I drove out to Porcupine Point by the dam and as luck would have it, caught a car leaving as I drove up. Since I needed to do an article for the newspaper, I just grabbed my camera, notebook, and with coffee in hand walked down to see who was catching what. What I found was, nobody was catching anything.  

I spent the better part of two hours walking and talking to those fishing around Porcupine Point and the only fish I saw was one lucky guy had one on his stringer and as I got all the way around the point, four guys were walking out with 3 on their stringer. That is all the fish I saw this morning.

You can see by the number of people in the two photo's below there were a bunch of people fishing out there. The catching was so bad that I didn't even get my rods out of the truck.

The Mud Hole


The Boat Launch

I drove over to the other side by the Mud Hole and story was the same. Nobody catching anything. 

I inquired how this could be because the DFG was supposed to plant this week and as I drove in, a stock truck was just pulling out. First, the plant from the stock truck (not the DFG truck) this morning, would be fish that were drugged and would not be biting until, maybe, the afternoon or tomorrow. As far as the DFG plant, I got two stories. One that they planted on the 13th and the other, that they didn't plant at all. All I know for sure was that there were a lot (and if you've seen Jeff Dunham and Peanut you know about), A LOT of pissed off fishermen.

As I was driving out I made sure to stop at check-in and prepare them for the onslaught of complaints they were going to receive, but they said they were already getting them. 

I went back out the way I came in and as I was driving toward Highway 88, I made a last minute decision to detour a couple of miles and go over to Camanche North Shore. The temperature was due to hit 67 today and it would have been a waste of good weather not to sit out by the lake and enjoy it. 

Just a quick comment on Camanche, I didn't catch anything, but the sun and warmth was nice.  The guy next to me did catch two nice Rainbows, but both came early in the morning and I didn't get there until 10:45, but I gave it the old college try. 

That's it for this adventure. Hey, there's always next week. 

Till then. 

Mark
  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eat Your Heart Out

I really didn't follow up when I introduced you to Sparky.  Remember, Sparky is sourdough starter my wife got back in 2011 from King Arthur Flour. 

Sparky
Since then she's been baking her little heart out, I thought I'd show you a few photos to get your Saturday morning salivary glands flowing. The baguettes below were taken to my sons house for Christmas lunch.


Baguettes
A loaf of Harvest Grain Sourdough bread

Harvest Grain Sourdough
Plain old sourdough bread.

Regular Sourdough
Not made from Sparky, but Vanilla Raspberry Scones. Notice there are a few missing? They were really, really good and glazed too.

Vanilla Raspberry Scones
Now that I've been evil on this slightly soggy Saturday morning in Northern California, I'll let you get back to what you were doing.

Till next time.

Mark

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'm Disgusted

This morning was a day of options.

Option 1 - Go to Sacramento and fish for Steelhead in the American River. Cancel that, hurt my back yesterday doing something around the house and standing on my feet that long and walking in the river on big rocks would be a killer.

Option 2 -  Go to Lake Amador and fish for Cutbows. Cancel that too, I was there just the other day and didn't catch anything.

Option 3 - Pick either the North Shore or the Trout Pond at Camanche. North Shore hasn't been too hot lately so I opted for the trout Pond. 

Got there at 0900 and set up both rods for Power Bait on a slip sinker rig. Having fished Amador on Tuesday, I had one rigged and the other just needed a new leader. I put out one rod with Rainbow Power Bait and a little sweet corn scent.

Before I could pick up the second rod to put on the new leader, it was fish on. It must have been sitting there just waiting for my line. With one fish on the stringer five minutes after I got there, it was a day with a bright future. Got the rod back out, put a new 36 inch leader on the other, and out it went with rainbow PB & sweet corn.

Then I sat for the rest of the morning without a bite to my name, nor was anyone else cathcing anything. At 11:00 the stocking truck pulled in at the usual place, but without the beep,beep,beep that attracts the pelicans. Then 5 more trucks pulled in by it. Looked like a East Bay MUD union meeting, with all the people standing around talking.

Fifteen minutes of talking and then chasing all the float tubers away (and there were about a dozen out there) they proceeded to dump a load of under sized bass, small crappie, and small catfish.WTF??

It's February 9th, there are at least 25 people fishing from the shore for trout, not to mention the dozen or so float tubers and they're putting bass, crappie, and catfish in the TROUT POND? It's the middle of winter, for Gods sake (If you can call a 70 degree day, winter).

AND, they were supposed to stock 600 pounds of trout tomorrow which they cancelled. 600 pounds this week (they last planted last Friday) when Amador is planting a 1000 pounds a DAY.

That is just disgusting.

I took a couple of pictures to show the people across the pond and along side where I was fishing to give you some idea of how many were out there.    

Across to the right

Across a little  more left

All the way left
It'll be a cold day in Hell before I spend any money to fish in the pond again. I'm going to go and take some drugs.

Till next time.

Mark

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

No Matter How Hard You Try

Or in this case no matter how much stuff you have in your tackle box, you don't always have what they are biting on.

I went out to Lake Amador yesterday to get some information for an article I'm doing for the newspaper. I wanted to find out if the fish were biting, were they biting on anything new or just the same old Power Bait, night crawlers, and Wooly Buggers.
 
The girl at check in said same old, same old. So I went over to the point by the spillway where I usually fish and snapped shot of the low water line. All the land you can see on the left is usually underwater at this time of year. Just past where the two guys are standing is the spillway.  


The spillway area

A few ripples on the lake
I only saw one fish caught by a couple of guys sitting in the V shaped area on the left of the first picture. I couldn't hear what they were using for bait, but I did hear garlic something. Probably the only bait scent I don't have in my tackle box. And why don't I have something that should be a standard? I don't know. Typical kid answer. "Why'd you do that? I don't know".


At least I had some company
So for most of the day I sat on a rock (chair pad under my bony butt) and talked to the ducks. They would have gotten something to eat when I broke out the butter croissant, but they picked that time to cavort with the Coots down the shore. So I ate all myself.

Above water end of an underwater duck
I tried just about everything in my tackle box, but there wasn't a fish to be had except the one next door on a garlic something. Note to self: get something garlic.

Just a quick note, last Saturday I became an official, paid, Freelance Writer. Somebody finally decided that this stuff I write is worth paying for. Enough said.

OK, one more time down to the American River for a Steelhead try later this week. I was down there today, but the weather guessers said (according to Doppler Radar) that it was raining cats and dogs, but not Steelhead. So being the believer I am, didn't take my fly fishing gear with me. It wasn't raining.

Thanks for stopping by and Howard, only you would see the guy in the picture as a guy starting to take a crap. I think he was trying to keep his hands arm.

Mark

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Melones Reservoir

The Editor at the paper has been bugging me, for some time, to go out and try new Melones Reservoir. I was out there once a long time ago when the report said that people were catching limits of 14" Rainbows on pink Power Bait at Angels Point. When I got out there, there was no body there, I fished with pink Power Bait and caught nothing.

Today, once I got to the check in, I found out that the gentleman in the little hut doesn't take your fee, they have an electronic fee gizmo that you put your money in and it gives you a ticket for your dashboard. Put in more than the $8.00 fee and it gives you gold dollars in change. Cool, I could put in $10.00 and get two gold dollars for the Grandkids. I put in $10.00, got two quarters in change. What's wrong with this picture? Fortunately I could reverse and work it out with the guy in the hut since I was the only one in line. Gave him the two quarters, got the $2 change (bills, no gold dollars for the kids) and I was off.  

First I cruised by Angels Point and snapped a picture. Can you see the guy fishing down there? The only guy fishing there? The shadow is me standing on the road.

Angels Point Area
OK, here is a telephoto (10X) of the same guy fishing. Can you see him now?

Close up of the picture above
He walked down there ( a really long way) from where I'm standing because there is only one place to park along this road until you get to the boat launch, somewhere way back in the top picture. That's the parking place below.

Parking for Angels point
You can not fish within 500 feet from either side of the boat launch, so what's the point of parking there. Not a very "shore fishing" friendly place.

The next stop was Glory Hole point. Nice parking area, room for a gazillion vehicles with boat trailers. Mostly empty today, so I parked right at the end. There was a nice gravel drive to walk down to the lake. About the same distance (Cardio walk) as the walk from the gate at Bear River Reservoir to the dam. Set up two rods, one with Rainbow Power Bait and the other with Florescent Red Power Bait (it's pink).

Then the fog started coming in. Then the wind started to blow. Then it got cold. Then I moved to the right so that I could have the line straight into the wind and not have a HUGE bow in the line. Then I moved to the other side of the pennisula. 

Glory Hole area
Once I got to the other side, the wind abated some. Got two lines out (same colors)

More Glory hole area
In the shot below, take a look at the rock structure. It's that way all along the shore and I'm sure that it's that way out from shore because the one and only bite I got (on the rainbow color), snagged the sinker in the rocks. I could feel the fish, but the sinker was firmly stuck. The only option I had was to break the line and let the fish go.

A little to the left
That was the only bite of the day. There were a couple of guys fishing just to the right of me, but they didn't get any bites while I was there. The older gentleman lives close by and said they have been catching some pretty good sized fish in the area we were fishing.

Then the fog rolled in, it got colder, so cold that I walked up to the truck and got my parka and gloves, and then it got down right miserable. Cold, foggy, wet, and windy. I'll only do miserable for so long and then call it a day. This is what it looked like when I left. They joys of winter in the Central Valley in California.  

The fog
I'd give this one another shot on a sunnier, less windy day, but at least I gave it the old college try.

Till the next adventure.

Mark