Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Family Vacation

The family headed down to Florida for a little R and R. The house we stayed in was not too shabby. Even with 10 other families in it.
Most of our time was spent going from the beach to the pool. The weather was really hot in the day time so I tried to get out early in the morning to do some fishing. There was a large tropical storm hammering the east side of Mexico. This caused unusually large surf for the gulf beaches. The waves beat me up as I tried to stay waist deep. The fishing was slow.
It wasn't until my third day that I managed to hook some lady fish. These fish were really fun to catch. They jumped several feet out of the water during the fight to bring them in.
With the surf the way it was I tried to find calmer areas. I decided to try my luck at Okaloosa Bay. The weather was perfect. Hardly any wind, the water was glass clear and you could wade several hundred yards from shore and never be deeper than your knees.
There was plenty of wildlife to observe. It was neat to see stingrays, hermit crabs and other animals outside of a aquarium. In the distance I saw dark shadows moving in the flats. I figured they were drum. The water was so shallow stalking them was a challenge. I cast at several fish and wondered if maybe I wasn't using the right fly. A group of four shadows was heading straight for me. I cast right in front of the small school. A shadow moved towards my fly I tightened my line and the shadow took off. My line made a wake in the water and I felt the pull from the fish. My reel sang and I couldn't help but yell WOOOH! out loud. The fish gave me a decent fight but I knew it was no match for my nine weight. I thought for sure the fish was a small red drum. As it came closer though I could tell it was something different.
I read about these catfish before visiting. They are a species that can tolerate salt water. Apparently the locals loathe these fish and think of them as bait stealers. Say what you want about them but they are really fun to catch. The fish are aggressive and will gladly take a fly. The pattern didn't seem to matter. It was the cast and placement of the fly that made the difference. I started to get a hang of what the fish wanted. It couldn't have been more fun. It was the perfect type of fishing to me. Shallow water, site fishing and the challenge of having to make good casts. I got my fill of the catfish and spent the rest of the day just exploring the flats. 

The rest the vacation was spent with playing on the beach, lounging by the pool and quality time with the family.
It was a great vacation and my wife is already looking into next years. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

New Toys

I went out on a float today with Jeff from the blog The Fish Whisperer. It was my first river float with my Native Ultimate and I wasn't sure how it was going to handle. We hit the river just as the sun was meeting the water.
I still don't feel comfortable scaling any type of rapids. I got stuck on a couple and had to get out to move the kayak. There was really no danger but I found it a little nerve racking trying to get the boat unstuck. Jeff was patient with me even though I'm sure I slowed him down. We fished the banks and after catching several sunfish I decided to try a spinner bait. It took awhile but I finally caught a bass.
Jeff hooked up often and it really showed that there's more to spin fishing than just throwing it out there. Each bait can be fished with a different technique and it takes skill to be efficient at using everything. I watched Jeff catch fish on what seemed like everything he threw in the water. He was even catching fish right under my boat. While we were talking near some blow downs I heard this splash then saw a monster bass go under my boat. I could tell by it's size right away that the fish was going to be good size. 
The fish was right at five pounds and a trophy for sure. My day wasn't as fruitful and I kept fighting keeping my boat in the direction I wanted while casting. It seemed like I could only get one good cast and the yak would be out of position. I still enjoyed the day and took in the scenery.
I'm on the fence on whether on not I like fishing from a kayak. It's alot more difficult than I thought it would be. I'll give it a few more tries before a make a decision. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dependable Gills

Life has been lackadaisical lately. I've fished a few times but the catching wasn't good. Thank goodness for gills. I snuck out today and hit my favorite gill spot. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fun, Friends and Fish

Between family, work obligations and weather mishaps, as I get older I appreciate it when a fishing trip comes together. This last trip started out how most do. There has to be some sort of drama before hand. Usually it's a injury, family illness or the usual rainstorm which blows out all the rivers. The night before we were about to leave we had one of the worst thunderstorms I've seen since living in North Carolina. No matter which direction you looked there were strobes from lightning. We got about 3 inches of rain in 2hrs. I was still going on this trip no matter what. The clouds in the distance on the drive up looked ominous. They slowly subsided as we got closer to the property. The group rented a house with it's own private stretch of trout water. It was hard to know what to expect with the price we paid for the place. The water looked good at first glance.
We wanted to jump in and fish right away but we needed to check out the house first. In my head imagined an older house with wallpaper and decorations that came right out of a 70's Sears Catalog. 
This place was awesome and included all the comforts of home even WiFi. We found ourselves constantly being surprised and yelling to each other "Hey, there's this too!" After all the oohing and ahhing we headed to the river. It was high and muddy from the recent rain. The area hadn't received the same amount that hit my home. We all figured with the fish seeing less pressure they'd be easy to catch. Our assumptions were wrong and the fish hit very subtlety. 
When the fishing was over we ate dinner sat on the balcony and admired the view.
The next day the group decided to try our luck on a close stocked stream. The water had cleared and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

I love this river. It has some of the prettiest scenery in the state. If variety is your game this is the place for you. The creek runs the gamut of all types of trout water. Plunge pools, riffley runs, fast and slow water. Then there's post card pools like this.
It's hard to fish with a frown in a place like this. We hit this river two days in a row and this dog managed to find me both days even on different sections of the river.
This dog cracked me up. He wanted to be my fishing buddy more than a canine companion. At first I wan't sure how friendly he was and I kept my distance. Then I noticed he'd follow me to every section of the river and eventually walked a head of me leading me to the next spot. He knew some pretty good ones too.
When the day was over I was more unhappy to leave his company than he was. He just sauntered off like he was eager to find the next fisherman to guide.

The fishing trip was as good as it gets. With long fishing days, good food, campfire stories and adult beverages. I can't wait until the next one.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Whiner Post - Blabber Mouth

We've all seen it and maybe even done it ourselves. A person on forums or blogs gives too much information. They share the location of great fishing spots and tell what flies and techniques to use. Usually these same people have the nerve to write about how crowded these places are. Fisherman are funny creatures and some love telling people about the fish they catch as much as catching them. The information is sometimes shared innocently with no intention of praise or recognition. People just want to help. Fisherman love to share the passion of what we do and have others jump on board. The problem is how much does what we share ruin what we love? It's a quandary many fisherman eventually face. What is the right amount of sharing? For me it's giving general information without the details. I feel the journey is part of the experience that makes things enjoyable. If someone holds your hand through every step of a process all the way to its completion is it really as gratifying as doing it yourself? Time and effort make accomplishing something really important. That applies in many aspects of life and with fishing as well. I think sometimes as fisherman we forget the recipe that leaded to a great day. The skunks, lost flies, wrong turns, bug bites, knots and falls. Don't take those learning experiences away from someone else by being a blabber mouth.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Crappie Are Weird

These fish are very strange. I'd say they are the easiest fish to catch with a fly IF you can find them. That's the hard part. They will also trick you even if you do find them. One day they will hit every thing that touches the water. The next day you will not even get a bite and swear all the fish left the area. It's a cruel game they play but when they cooperate it's glorious.

I caught my biggest the other day right at my feet. 
Such a different experience from when I was catching them before. I'd like to think it was staging for spawning but it was the only other fish I caught. Were there more fish and they just weren't hitting? Has the amount of fish fallen off? Who knows, I guess it's the enigma that keeps us coming back to figure out.