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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wow, That Was Fun

On second thought, it was OK. My wife had to be at work at 5:00 this morning. I got up with her at 2:45 so instead of meeting Yuki at New Melones at 9:00, I headed out of the house at 5:30. I could have left when my wife did at 4:15, but stayed home and spiffed up the house just in case someone wanted to look at it today. It's on the market again if I hadn't already told you that.

After a stop at Starbucks in Angels Camp, I got to the lake (Note I didn't call it a puddle. Explanation to follow) at 7:00 am. That is almost still dark. I think that Sunrise this morning was 7:01, but down in a hole the sun didn't touch me until about Noon. OK, maybe 8 or so.

As the sun was crawling down the mountain hill across the lake, I took a couple shots of it in different positions. Did I mention that it was cold?

Just the tip

Half way down

OK, hit the water
Then when it finally got up far enough to hit where I was sitting, I turned around and snapped this one.
Sun sitting on the hill
Back to fishing. One of the reasons I wanted to get out there early is I wanted the spot at the bottom of the launch ramp. It's a good thing I did too because between 7:00 and a little after 9:00 when Yuki arrived, there were more than 6 people who wanted that spot. Early bird gets the worm. A good thing if you like worms. No comments about worms please.

Before Yuki arrived, in fact between 8:00 and 8:45, I put three Rainbows on the stringer all caught on rainbow Power Bait with 12" of leader and only 20 feet out from shore.

Sometime between the time Yuki arrived and we left for lunch at Noon, Yuki put two on his stringer using chartreuse Power Bait and I hooked one more.

#4, the fight is on.

And fight some more did I.

After hours of fighting
Oh, you don't believe that hours stuff do you? I mean, after all how many pictures can Yuki snap with the camera while I was bringing in fish #4? Total fight maybe 2 or 3 minutes. maybe.

All the fish today were those 14" ones we've been getting at New Melones. Some bright pink, some not so bright. Some almost silver.  

The lake, with the torrential rains we had this past weekend, if you watched any National News California was washed into the ocean once or twice, the lake level rose what looked like a good 6 feet. Hey, 6 feet of water in that lake is a LOT of water.

Here at La Casa Kautz we got 9 inches of rain from Friday through Yesterday. The pond went from no water to running out the drain tube (about 2 1/2 feet deep) over night Friday into Saturday. This morning it was till running out the drain tube and we haven't seen that in quite a while. Had I blocked the drain tube the pond would have probably filled (about 8 feet deep), but it's one of those things you have to watch. It can go from empty to over flowing in just a couple hours and I was going fishing today. No time to spend watching the pond fill.

Yuki and I are thinking about kayak/float tubing it on Camanche on Friday. We'll let you know. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

This Is Beyond Awesome

You all know Yuki. Most of you know his Daughter Marisa from our fishing trips.

Marisa is a Biologist and has the opportunity to travel the world in her profession. She just returned from the Amazon and has taken a zillion pictures.

Marisa is a gifted photographer. So gifted that she has produced two calendars from her photographs. 

If you want to take a look at her 2015 calendar, go here. If you need a 2015 calendar, this the one.

She also posts her photos on flickr. There is something like 670 photos on the site.

Go take a look.


She gets to go all these places, take all these pictures, and they pay her to do that. Is that cool or what?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Funny Photo's

Terry over at Lake Camanche took these yesterday. They want to feature me on Facebook. I want to hide.

I wonder, sometimes if I have no shame.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Patience Is A Virtue

I rolled out of the house at 6:45 with the New Melones puddle in mind. As happens with me, I got to the turn for either New Melones or Lake Camanche and turned toward Lake Camanche.  And they say women change their minds.

If you remember, Yuki and I were there just last Thursday and got skunked. OK, so I'm a glutton for punishment. I got to check-in at about 7:30 and asked the young man if they planted recently.

Yeh, he said, yesterday. Cool, where? South Shore and the Trout Pond. I was at North Shore. Sometimes luck is just not with you. Now I could have gone to South Shore, but that would have added another forty five minutes or so.

So I took my lumps and drove out to the peninsula. Since Yuki and I didn't do very well at the sandy cove last time, I went all the way out to the only other accessible place almost to the island. That would be the island you can now drive to. You've got to love the drought, not.

As I pulled up there, someone was just unloading his gear and it turned out to be an old fishing friend. You might remember him from a while back, his name is Cliff and he hails from Oakley, California.

I put out two rods with rainbow Power Bait, one close in, the other far out. Cliff put out two with Crawlers. And there we sat until 11:30 when Cliff decided to head over to the boat launch and try there.

I, on the other hand, went back to the sandy cove and put my rods out just like before. While I was sitting there, I took a couple shots of the glass calm lake.      

Can't get much calmer than that.
All the time I was sitting there, I was thinking "What a day to have the Float Tube Cumberland there", but that wasn't the plan which is usually the problem.

I'd like to say that I could carry the Float Tube Cumberland along every time I go fishing, but I already have way too much gear in my truck as it is.

Then just after Noon the fun started, the close in rod started bouncing. The fight was on. It wasn't more than about 30 feet from shore and the leader was only 12 inches. There you have it, Mt Lassen Rainbow Trout coming in at 2 lbs. 1 oz. 

First fish of the day
Half hour later as I was working my little Okuma and the ever faithful pink Kastmaster, the same rod started bouncing again. I thought that maybe I had snagged the line, but in reeling the Kastmaster in, there wasn't anything attached to the lure. Again, the fight was on. In the picture below, the first fish is on the bottom and the second one is on the top. Second fish came in at 1 lb. 11 oz. When you look at them side by side the bottom one looks a lot larger, but that's what I got with the Handy Dandy Berkeley Digital Scale.

See, patience pays off.

Did I mention that it was hotter than Hell out there. The weather guessers are saying it was only 66 degrees, but you can't prove it by me. It felt more like about 90.

Which brings me to the next two Pictures. The first one was taken at 12:45. Notice how calm the lake is. 
The lake at 12:45
Then the wind picked up and this picture is at 1:00. How fast things can change. Not only the wind, but it also cooled down considerably. 

The lake at 1:00 pm.
Now, if I had been in the Float tube Cumberland at 12:45 I would have wished to be way out there by that (now dry) island. I packed up at 2:00 and called it a day. Nothing after the two. 
So patience paid off with two nice Rainbows and I didn't even have to drive all the way over to the South Shore.

Since we're expecting rain for the next 4 or 5 days (maybe) and Yuki and I are heading out to New Melones on Monday, it'll be another week or so, but I WILL get the Float Tube Cumberland out on that lake. Stay tuned.