Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Kayak

With the advent of the Yuki adventure on Monday and a lengthy discussion with my wife last night, there won't be a kayak in my life any time soon, if at all.

My wife informed me that if I had a kayak, it tipped over, and I drowned, she would hunt me down, find me where ever I was, and kill me again. She seem pretty firm on that and there didn't seem to be any wiggle room there.

You have to keep in mind that I'm married to a Princess. Being married to a Princess, you're subject to the "Princess rules". If you're married to one, you know of what I speak. If not, let me list a few for you.

Princess rule #1 - The Princess is always right. That goes without saying.

Princess rule #2 - If the Princess is wrong, refer to rule #1.

Princess rule #3 - The Princess can change the rules at any time. No, she doesn't have to tell you ahead of time.

Princess rule #4 - Don't piss off the Princess. This is where the second paragraph above comes in.

Princess rule #5 - The Princess should have everything she wants. When the Princess is happy, you'll be happy.

I know, this is just some silly stuff,.....or is it? Yuki sold the blue kayak and in the future he'll be kayaking alone.  If I want to get out, I'll have to break out the Float Tube Cumberland and chance the leg cramps.

I had another epiphany this morning regarding the Float Tube Cumberland. I could flipper out to one of the buoys (Camanche North Shore), tie up to it, and fish from there. Deep water, sitting on my butt, and Power Bait dunking. What a concept.

See you next post.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It Ain't Over Yet, Folks

An explanation of the title. I know you guys from Colorado and further east are sick of the snow. I know that that little ball of fur in Pennsylvania said no more winter, but you all know the lore here in California. Winter is not over until it snows on the Dogwood blooms. I hate to be a doomsayer, but there ain't flower one on the Dogwoods yet. Sorry. 

No Flowers
Decided to take a drive up the hill to see what's what. I haven't been in Cooks Station in months so that was my first stop. Coffee in hand, I headed to Bear River Reservoir. I hit snow below 6000 ft. Drove down to the lake and with the gate still closed, decided I'd supply you with pictures from the vista point up the highway.

Bear River. Low and still snow.

The hills are alive with....snow. No singing.

Since there was so much snow at Bear, I decided not to make the drive uphill any further. Turned around and pulled off at Cat Creek Rd. Thought I'd take a look at the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes since general trout seasons opens in about the month (last Saturday in April). After driving through several snow piles, some a foot deep, I rounded the bend and ran into this.

Snow as far as the eye can see.
Somebody had been through there, but not recently and not me today. I hung a Uie and headed back out. Back down the road and drove toward the same creek just down country a bit. No snow this time and made it to the bridge at PIPI Valley campground.

From the bridge downstream
From the bridge upstream
The pool right under the bridge
Couple of nice holding spots.
Got your attention yet? Your mouth drooling? Your fly rod hand twitching? You know those little rainbows and browns are just itching for your fly. Can I wait another month? It'll be hard, but I will persevere. Damn, I can't wait.

On the way down to the creek, I passed something that looked interesting.

Same creek, other side of the road.
I don't recall seeing this in the past and it might go dry in the summer, but maybe, just maybe I'll stick a fly in there come opening day. If anything happens, I'll be sure to let you know.

That's the post. I'm going up on the roof to clean the flue.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Fishing Can Be Dangerous

Since Yuki and I got blown off New Melones last Friday we decided to do another day of yaking. Our initial plan was to got out to Lake Pardee, but I've not seen any comments on the local forums. Not just recently, but almost since opening day February 15th. That turned me off on Pardee so I suggested the North Shore of Lake Camanche.

The plan was to launch and head out to the buoy area hoping to trawl in some deeper water. The more the lake fills (and it is still filling) the less land available to fish on and as the water rises, the shallow water at the shore goes out further making it even harder to get to deeper water.

I want to mention that I had an epiphany the other night as we were planning this trip. I know that it is essential to get the lure down deep in these lakes and since I don't use downriggers, I thought I'd use a slip sinker rig with a 1/4 oz. egg sinker and snap swivel on the end of three feet of 4# fluorocarbon leader. Then put on the lure. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. 

I was on the water first in the yellow kayak I used last week and since Yuki was doing some rigging, launched about 15 minutes later. In that 15 minutes, I had gotten most of the way to the island that is maybe a quarter to a half mile from launch. I pulled a Thomas Buoyant lure with a chartreuse Power Worm on one rod and the pink Kastmaster on the other.

I made it to the island and put on a gold Kastmaster on one and one of the lures from Howard up in Spokane. I got all the way across and into the bay where we usually fish, make a 180 and with a silver Kastmaster on one rod and a different colored lure from Howard, started back across.

Once I got back to the island, I put a white crappie jig and worked a grassy area and some trees in the water. I thought maybe I'd get a crappie to take notice. The trout sure weren't. On the way back toward launch, this time I put on a red/white crappie jig and a pink Power Worm on one rod and a firetiger Kastmaster on the other.

Again a 180 at the cove and this time with the pink Kastmaster on one and silver on the other I headed back across.    

We've parked behind this bush to fish

I've parked directly to the right of this buoy
Now, before I get to the next part of this post, I want to give you a closeup of the two kayaks we were using.
I used this one
Yuki used this one
Two things to note about the kayak Yuki was using. One, it's an ocean going kayak. Two, it's a mighty narrow kayak.

I was heading back across and was about half way when I saw Yuki flip his kayak. I was about 200 yards from him and as soon as I saw what happened, I immediately dug in the paddle and headed in his direction.

I told Yuki I wouldn't embarrass him with all the gory details so let me say that I got to him, got him to shallow water where he could stand and got him back into the kayak. From there I towed it back to launch so he could get some dry clothes and warm up. Water temperature was probably high 40's and I was worried about hypothermia.

I went back out to collect his stuff that was scattered from where he flipped to about 200 yards toward launch. The wind, you know. We only lost two things. A rod that didn't float and the paddle that I just couldn't find.

All in all, Yuki is fine although a little worse for wear. It did bring the day of fishing to a screeching halt, though. Oh, by the way, anyone want to buy a blue kayak? I know where you can get a good deal on one.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Yaking With Yuki

Yuki and I planned a day at New Melones Reservoir. They planted both Glory Hole and Tuttletown this week and we figured our chances were good for a fish or two.

Yuki sent an email the other day and said "Should he bring the Kayaks". Having never kayaked, I said "Sure". This morning I sent him an email and said "Weather guessers said winds at 20 with gusts to 30 or 40. You decide if you want to Yak or just shore fish".

We Yaked. It was fine at the beginning. Winds were pretty calm and no chop on the water. In the picture of Yuki below is the place (to the left of the high and dry launch ramp) where we usually shore fish at Tuttletown.   

The area we are in is a big "cove" if you will. I crossed to the other side trawling a pink Kastmaster. Once on the other side I rigged up my fly rod with a Thin Mint and worked around the shore.

As the day progressed, the wind did pick up. In fact it got quite breezy. Breezy enough that it took three times longer to get back than it did to go across. Around 11:00 we decided to call it and I trawled a F-9 Rapala in firetiger all the way back.

Yuki said he had one on, but used a long distance release to leave it for another day. So long of a distance, that he didn't know what size the fish was. He said he hooked up on a Thomas Buoyant Lake Lure with a green Power Worm.   
Yours truely
So here's my take on Kayaking. First, it's pretty cool to sit in and keep your butt out of the water, especially since the water is still cold. Yuki, on the other hand had a lower profile yak and he ended up with a wet butt. Second, unless it's summer, you need boots to get into the yak. Note to self: Next time  bring your hip waders. Third, getting out after even two hours of fishing is another whole learned experience. Once I managed to get out of the thing, I was wet from my knees down, both legs. Note to self: If you forget the waders next time, it's your own damn fault.

The kayak I was using was an Ascend FS10. The yellow color was nice so I didn't get lost on the lake. It sits higher in the water and was better able to manage the waves, once the wind got to hurricane force, than the blue one Yuki was in. Kayaks are also so much more aerodynamic than a float tube. Anyone want to by the Float Tube Cumberland? I think I'm going to upgrade to a kayak.

Oh yeh, no fish. Not even a bite. Maybe next time the conditions will be better. Could be the fish might bite too.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I Had A Dream

This is not a Martin Luther King Jr. thing. That was "I have a dream".

Last night I had a dream that was kind of weird. You have to understand that my wife works in computers so that's probably where part of this came from. The dream was a florescent green computer with a florescent green screen and when the alarm went off at 0515 I got a florescent green flash. Since I was going fishing this morning I took that as an omen to what I should be fishing with. 

I left the house at 0730 and after a stop at Starbucks for coffee, hit Lake Camanche at 0845. Since the last time I was out there, the water has risen even more so there there is only a small spot at the tip of the peninsula (if you can call it that) where you can pull a vehicle out to. In the picture below, that is where the white truck is parked. Other than that, it's parking lot all the way.

Set out one rod with chartreuse Power Bait (the closest I could get to florescent green) and one with the old standby, rainbow with a couple of dabs of Pro-Cure garlic scent. Then I waited.

While we're waiting, I should explain why I went fishing today. For the last couple of days I've been raking and burning pine needles (yes, it's that time of year again) and shredding my little heart out. When we first moved to beautiful Volcano I had aspirations of burning, in a burn barrel, all those credit card applications you get on a daily basis only to find out you're not allowed to burn anything except natural vegetation in a burn barrel or a pile or anywhere else. So here I sat with nine years of our recycle stuff, all the recycle stuff from my Mother-in-Laws house when she passed away, and she never got rid of any. Two years ago I found myself with about fifty (50) shopping bags of stuff to be shredded. We had a shredder and I started shredding. Since then I've been on a mission to get all those bags done. Two weeks ago, our little shredder we've had for years finally died. I guess you could say I killed it. Anyway I went to Sam's Club and bought a new one. Got the $55 special and it lasted 12 pages, then I returned it. Came home with the $150 super duper model. It says you can shred 5300 pieces in 40 minutes of continuous shredding. So I ran about 50 pages through it and it never wavered. I'm now down to the last three bags with the end in sight. That is until I get to the filing cabinet that has stuff to be shredded that goes back, some of it 15 years.    

So that's why I went fishing today, to rest recuperate, and get ready for the final shredding push.

It's now 11:00 am and I've soaked the chartreuse Power Bait for the first hour and changed it to plain old rainbow for the second hour. In between that time my friend Yuki showed up (I emailed him this morning letting him know I would be out at the North Shore) and then suddenly the rod with rainbow started dancing. I set the hook and reeled in this nice 1 lb. 15 oz. rainbow. Thanks to Yuki for the I-Phone pictures. 

A little dark
Took this one from the other direction
From 11:00 am until I left at 12:45 pm, nothing happened to us, but the guys in the white pickup (top picture) landed one that was 3 lbs. even. I guess dreams don't always come true and maybe the green was from all the Corned Beef and Cabbage I ate over the weekend. Yuki stayed on after I left. You know he always catches fish after I leave and if he did catch anything I'm sure he'll put something in the comment section so check there.  

We might take a ride out to New Melones Thursday or Friday since they are stocking both Glory Hole and Tuttletown this week and see if we can't catch one or two.

I'll let you know.


Friday, March 15, 2013

The Lures & The Secret Lake

How did they do?

The Inlet

Out Toward The Lake
I took some pictures of the lake. Sorry Howard, maybe next time.

I did catch one 14 inch brown on a cricket if that counts.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

I've Been Jinxed

Back on the 5th I mentioned that Howard (WDSTK3 Handcrafted lures) sent me the six lures below to try in the local lakes. Today I headed out to Lake Amador to give them a shot.

I got to the lake at 0830 and once I had one rod out with rainbow Power Bait, I started throwing the lures. I used a fan pattern and gave each lure about 10 casts each. Sixty casts later, I have to say it's not that there aren't any fish in this lake, it's that I've been jinxed.

I also threw all the colors of Kastmaster and all the colors of Rapala's in my tackle box.

Brings me back to the Steelhead on the American. Bouncing an egg imitation off it's nose and it wouldn't bite.

The jinx is so bad, I hang my head in shame being called a trout fisherman.

You believe that? I doubt it. I'm off to the "secret" lake this morning to see what's shaking. Maybe the six lures will work on those browns up there. I'll let you know tomorrow.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Guess Who Part 2

OK, Mel already knew and Howard didn't hazard a guess so I'll tell you.

Bill Trussell (Fishing Through Life Blog) and his son, drove out to Marysville California so his son could get established at the hospital where he will be doing a "traveling nurse" stint for the next 3 months.   
Me & Bill
I wanted to give Bill a nice California welcome so I drove up to Marysville yesterday (not very far, only about 2 1/2 hours from home), met Bill and took him out to lunch. His son couldn't join us, but we brought him back food to keep his moving energy level up.

I also brought along a list of the websites for California Department of Fish & Game stocking, online fishing license, the place to find special fishing regulations, a couple of the local forums, and the USGS National Viewer site. With that information and my home phone number, by the time Bill and his wife get back out here in the summer, his son should be ready to show him all the good places for catching fish. I suspect we'll be meeting again, but this time to do some fishing since neither of us had any fishing equipment with us yesterday. Bill is flying back to Alabama today.

This other picture I took this morning on the way back from town. It's not every day you can follow an airplane driving down the street. 

The cockpit said experimental
Next week, we are expecting sunshine and blue skies all week. Daffodil Hill is opening next Friday (a sure sign of spring) and I saw three Robin red breasts this morning (another sign of spring), BUT as you know, until the snow falls on the Dogwoods it ain't over yet.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Guess Who.......

No, not the guy in the orange t-shirt. 

No, I'm not giving anything away for a correct guess. 


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

You've Got To Be Flexible

Thank you all for the kind words about Dave. 

Today we (Bob and I) were supposed to do the "gravel the main road" thing. Two transfers of Class1 road gravel had been ordered for delivery starting this morning. A transfer is two trailers totaling about 24 tons of gravel. Late last night, we got an email from our "money" guy (a neighbor who collected the donations from all the other neighbors for road maintenance) saying the truckers rig was in the shop and wouldn't be available until later in the week. So I did what any good guy would do and that's go fishing. You just have to flexible about these things.

Howard at WDSTK 3 Handcrafted Lures sent me a half dozen of his lures to try in the lakes here locally. Last Friday when I was out at New Melones I stopped and picked up a box of treble hooks at Glory Hole Sports. I got them all attached and wanted to give the lures a shot at Lake Camanche this morning.

WDSTK 3 Handcrafted Lures

I pulled out of the house at 0715 and hit the North Shore Day Use Area at just before 0815. At most of the lakes in the area the water level is going down. Not so at Lake Camanche. Much to my surprise, the peninsula I parked on last week was now under water. That's OK, just be flexible.  

Used to be dry out there
I parked in the actual parking lot and found a spot that looked like it might have some deeper water. 

First time parking in the lot
I put out two rods with Power Bait and at about 150 feet (an estimate of distance) the water didn't seem to be much more than about 2 feet deep. I held off using the lures because of the depth.

The first fishing spot
Then I moved to the very point of the little peninsula I was on and set out two rods again. Once again the water at 150 feet (still an estimate) out was barely 3 feet deep (this is an estimate too). A half hour into the day and my first hit came on the rod with rainbow Power Bait and a dab of Pro-Cure garlic scent. This nice little 12 incher was attached to the end of the line.  

First fish of the day
For the next hour or so, I sat and sat and sat. I even closed my eyes and tried to take a nap. Fishing was pretty boring. My next thought (and this is where my wife says I get into trouble, thinking that is) was to go over to the south shore and fish the trout pond. I know the water is deeper right off shore and maybe the newness of the lures would attract a fish or two.

See, my wife is right. I thought I should go over there and there wasn't anything that looked like a fish in the pond. Oh, there were guys out in float tubes catching a fish here and there and from what I could glean from their conversations they were using Power Worms on fly rods. That is just not right.

I did give the lures about 10 casts each, but with the lack of fish anywhere in the area, It wasn't a very good test. Next time maybe I'll try them at Lake Amador.  I didn't get any hits on Power Bait either.

We're expecting the rain and snow to start tonight and go through tomorrow and into Thursday so I might try and get out again on Friday unless the gravel comes. I'll let you know.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Once Again I Lose Someone Close

When I wrote my book “Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother’s Gray Hair” there are several places where I mention my friend Dave who lives in Missouri. He’s mentioned as my childhood best friend in the introduction, and several times throughout the remaining chapters.

When I moved from Florida in 1963 I lost track of Dave and it took me almost 40 years to find him again. When I went back to Florida in the summer of 1999 I did my damnedest to find him, but it was not until I worked for a company and had access to a certain database that I was able to find him somewhere around 2005/2006. 

In the few years since, I’ve not been able to get back to Missouri nor was Dave able to get to California, but we kept in touch via email and phone. 

On February 5th, Dave’s 67th birthday I called as I usually did and wished him Happy Birthday. He sounded somewhat subdued and not his normal self, but I didn’t make a big deal of it figuring he was just having a bad day. 

Little did I know how bad a day he was really having until I got “the” call on the 11th from his son telling me that Dave had passed away. Dave’s son told me what had happened, but I was in such shock that I really didn’t listen and told him I’d call the next day. 

I did call and called for several more days trying to find information about memorials and such, but it wasn’t until I got a call a little over a week ago from a mutual friend that we grew up with that I found out what happened. 

Seems Dave drove his lifelong companion Peggy to work and when he got home, literally fell out of the car and couldn’t move. What we found out later was, Dave had a bleeding ulcer that he didn’t take care of (because he couldn’t get an appointment with the VA doctors until “later”), threw a blood clot that ended up in his leg (my guess was it also caused a stroke), and because of the ulcer had a bacterial infection that couldn’t be reversed, all because he couldn’t get an appointment with the VA doctors until “later”. 

With losing my brother in December and now losing Dave (remember he was only 6 months older than I am) on the 11th of February I was in a state of, “shock” is not the word, I think the phrase is “what next or who next” or what the hell.  That’s why it’s taken me almost a month to put this post out there.

Those of us that are older realize that we are no longer indestructible and bullet proof. When you are younger like a lot of you are, all you want to do is live life to the fullest, but when you get to that age and I’m not sure just what the number is, you realize time is no longer on your side. 

I’ve always lived on the premise that when it’s your time, they will turn your clock off and it’s over. Whoever “they” are, I have no idea. I don’t want to get into religious beliefs because mine are probably a whole lot different than most, if not all, of yours. Dave’s time was February 11, 2013 as was my brothers on December 21, 2012.

In all aspects Dave was my brother. We grew up together, went to school together, got in trouble together, and chased girls together.  We fought, hated each other, became friends again, and when we finally found each other it was just like old times. 

I’ll miss you Dave. 

Rest in peace, my brother

Friday, March 1, 2013

Where Are You?

Plan A was to meet Yuki and Jim at the Angels Creek area of New Melones Reservoir.

From the Glory Hole Sports fishing report: Bank fishing was a little slow this week with only a few fish being caught per angler. Maybe I should have stayed home.

Yuki said to look for Jim's burgundy Ford so I drove out to the Angels Creek area only to find the gate closed. OK, I'll drive out to Glory Hole Point and see if he's out there. Yuki would be along later because he has to feed the animals in the morning. he's got horses and cats and stuff.

Got out to Glory Hole Point and checked all the parking lots, but no Jim. Tried to call Yuki, but couldn't get enough bars on my cheapo Walmart Tracphone so the next move was to drive over to Tuttletown and see if the meet was moved there.

Pulled in at Tuttletown and no Jim. OK, on to Plan B. I hauled my gear down to the "good" (the spot where we've caught the most fish in the past) spot and set up two rods. One with the usual rainbow Power Bait and the other with something different. I removed the #18 gold treble hook and replaced it with a #6 bait hook.

I had stopped at Glory Hole Sports to pick up some small treble hooks to put on a few lures that Howard sent me from WDSTK 3 Handcrafted Lures to try in the lakes around here. They will get tried another time. GHS is the only fishing store that I thought might have them and while I was there I picked up a box of Mini-Crawlers. You never know what they will bite on today.

Back to the second rod. With the #6 bait hook, I put on two florescent White Power Eggs. Slid them past the hook and then threaded on a crawler. Just as I lobbed that one out, my cheapo Walmart Tracphone rang and Yuki was on the other end. He and Jim were at now over at Angels Creek and let me know what parking lot.

I told him I was going to hang out where I was because I had my rods in the water already and I'd catch up with them in an hour or two. Just as I hung up the rod with the crawler started bouncing. I picked it up and when the line straightened, set the hook. The rainbow wasn't the biggest I've ever caught, but it did manage to swallow the crawler and both the Power Eggs. I put it on the stringer and waited for the next one.

Forty-five minutes later and no new hits, I decided to head over to where Jim & Yuki were. I want to note that while I was packing up my gear, the Park Ranger was making his rounds and we struck up a conversation. If you'll remember the float tubing days over at the Camanche Trout Pond when I talked to the Park Ranger I always got skunked. See below.

I drove by a burgundy Ford in a side parking lot, but didn't see Yuki's truck so I kept going out to Glory hole Point, but nobody there either so I went back to where the burgundy Ford was and called.

Yup, that was Yuki and Jim down by the lake. They were so far away they look like they were about 1/2 of an inch high. I grabbed a minimum of equipment and hiked the 25 miles (OK, maybe a 1/2 mile) down to the lake. I set up two rods the same as above and commenced to socialize.

A couple of hours later and fishless (no doubt the fault of the Park Ranger. See I told you.) I started the climb back out. Once I got back to the truck (after stopping three times to rest) I added some ice to the bucket I had the one fish in and left it for Yuki to add to the one he caught. Maybe they caught more after I left. He'll let us know, check the comments section.

Next week, maybe I'll wander back out to Lake Pardee and see what's shaking. Should have the hooks on those lures from Howard by then.