Monday, January 27, 2014

The Fish Didn't Win This Time

Plan A - Launch the Float Tube Cumberland into New Melones Reservoir. There was no Plan B. Headed out of the house at 0720 and after filling up the gas tank, headed to New Melones.  

Now I know the coffee stop at Starbucks in Angels Camp is a given, but not today. I was planning on float tubing and didn't need any additional liquid in my body. If you've float tubed, you know what I'm saying.

Before I get into the details, I took a couple of scenery shots to get the day started. The first one is where we usually bank fish. This one taken from the water side. 

The Fishing Spot
Up on top of the hill is the parking lot for the boat ramp when the lake is full.

Parking Lot
By the time I got the Float Tube Cumberland aired up, it was just before 0900. Some time ago Bill Trussell sent me a couple Muddler Minnows to try in the lakes out here and today was a good time to do just that. It was the first fly of the day and the only problem I ran into was it floated. Sure, I could have put a little split shot on the line, but they were back in the truck and I was already out a ways.

So what I did was put on a beadhead black Wooly Bugger (supposedly the best for fish here) for weight and added the Muddler as a dropper. I'd like to report that the fish murdered the Muddler, but it wasn't to be. Sorry Bill, I gave it a good hour, but I will try again next time, by itself, with some weight.     

The black Wooly Bugger didn't produce anything either so I went to the ever faithful Tungsten Beadhead Thin Mint. Then the party began. 

Almost immediately this 14 inch or so Rainbow came to hand. He hit the Thin Mint so hard it almost pulled me out of the Float Tube. It also set the tone for the rest of the day.

First Fish Of 2014
I flippered back and forth in front of where we usually fish and brought three to hand, all on the Thin Mint. When something is working that well, no need to change. Then some bank fishermen showed up and I moved along. I crossed the launch area and fish a little cover where there were rumors of Browns.

The next four were in that area were all Rainbows. Along about Noon I was getting tired (I don't think I'm quite 100% yet) so I started back toward the launch ramp and then it hit and the fight was on. I thought "big Rainbow". The fish was a good sized Brown. I guess the rumors are true.

First Brown of 2014
I only kept him out of the water long enough for a photo op, but not long enough to measure him. My estimation is probably 17 maybe 18 inches. Nice big tail and plenty of power.

I have solved the problem with the cramps I was getting and what was making me hesitate to float tube. It turns out that it wasn't a cramp after all , but arthritis in my hip. To counteract that , I just took a stupid pill.

Explain the stupid pill? Several months ago I told my doctor that I refuse to be 67 so give me something for the muscle pain I incur when "I'm stupid". Apparently works for float tubing too.

So, the Float Tube Cumberland is back in business.     


  1. Awesome! Nice to see a successful float tube report! That brown looks nice. I've been waiting for a float tube story.... so glad to see it was successful. More to come? Maybe a thin mint close-up?

  2. Great job Mark! Glad to hear you took the tube for a spin!

  3. nice to see you hook into a few trouts, give em hell

  4. Nice trout Mark and it's nice that contrary to rumor, you can fix stupid.

  5. Nice! Great to see you out in the tube. I'm envious! (Hey, try floating one of those muddlers up against the bank or around cover and give it a lively strip. That is, when your arm gets tired of hauling in all the big fish on the Mint.)

  6. Being a float tuber for some (25) years, sure does the soul some good when I read a great float tubing story. Very envious of your opportunity and those nice fish you reeled in today. What a tail on that Brown!

  7. The tail on that guy is nuts. He must really be practicing for spawn hard! :D

  8. Holy sh*t look at the size of the tail on that brown.
    Nice job there .

  9. Solid man! You should be very proud of those gems.

  10. Mark
    That is one nice brown on the Thin Mint. Can you post an image of it on your next post? Sorry to hear the Muddler didn’t produce. Try wetting it well before you us it next time and it becomes subsurface. I have landed fish using it as a dry and as a subsurface nymph. What weight fly rod were you using to land the brown? Glad you made it out with the tube and I have a feeling it will be used more in the coming months. Thanks for sharing

    1. Hi Bill. I'm going to try it again next week. I use a 6wt with Intermediate Sinking Line in the lake. I brought my Tenkara rod along, but there wasn't any surface feeding.