Thursday, November 3, 2016

Watch Your Step

This is how the small creek I fished looked over the weekend. It was very dangerous. The dry leaves covered the water running just underneath. In some places it hid where there was wet rock. A couple times I stepped on what I thought was solid ground only to have all the leaves move at once. I took some nasty falls and I was lucky to not get hurt. The leaves are beautiful but the experience reminded me they can also be a hazard. Watch your step out there.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Adoration For Browns

For some reason, browns are special to me. I've always had a deep respect for them. They seem to be great at adapting and efficient at hunting. Arguably they are the smartest fish when they're combined with rainbows and brook trout. There is a feeling of accomplishment every time I catch a decent sized brown. Catching one over 15inches isn't a common occurrence for me. What I find interesting is the bigger browns I usually catch are on flies I have no real confidence in. Take this last fishing trip for instance. I've never been a huge fan of copper johns. I have friends that swear by them but they never worked well for me. I'm sure it's partly because of my confidence in fishing them. On this day I was running low on the usual softhackles I love and decided to try a rubber legged copper john. I didn't catch a ton of fish on it but did manage this largest fish of the day which happened to be a brown.
Do the larger browns hit these flies because they are less common and they haven't learned to avoid them yet? Or is it just luck? I have no idea but it keeps me reaching for those flies in the far corner of my box that get overlooked.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Post Hurricane Matthew

I hadn't worn my waders in months. Hurricane Matthew gave me a good reason to wear them again as I assessed the water around my house. We had over 6" of rainfall in a 24 hour period. I found out water will find a way to seal itself even where there are cracks. The water had pushed leaves, pine needles, and other debris against the cracks in the fence and created a dam. Water started to build up and push its way towards the house. My last resort was breaking one of the fence slats to let the water out. Once I made the hole I could feel the current pushing against my waders. It made me think about the people wading through several feet of water in other areas. That has got to be terrifying. The day after the storm was beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky and the air was dry and cool. It was the first day that really felt like fall. I was able to muster up the family to go on a bike ride. I wanted to assess the damage on a local greenway. The creek that followed the trail was swollen and water covered the trail several times. We also came across downed trees.
This part of the trail was unrecognizable. Sediment covered the trail and the creek used the trail for its flow. 
Nature never ceases to amaze me. We were really lucky with Matthew it could have been a lot worse.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Funk

Sorry for the lack of activity on the blog. I have no good excuse. I've been making getting back in shape a priority. Watching more what I eat and making an effort to get more active. I'm starting to see positive results. The weather has been so hot it's distracted my mind from fishing. I've also found a group of people in the same boat I am. Older dads trying to get back in shape. We've organized a small mountain biking group. The group has been on a few rides so far but they have been very fun and I hope the rides become a consistent thing. I'm sure I'll fish soon and I'll post a decent report. 

If you can get out tonight try and check out the Perseid Meteor shower. I went with the family last night to a local lake. We saw an average of a meteor a minute after 10pm. I also saw something I've never seen in my life. While I was watching the kids play on the playground and waiting for it to get dark I saw something fall from the sky and land on the sand. It looked like a large leaf but there were no trees close by. My first thought was that it looked kind of like a bat. I saw my kids running over and I could tell from their body language it was something alive. I ran over and sure enough there was a bat laying in the sand. On closer inspection, you could see there were two bats. 
I guess they were mating. After I snapped a few pics the top bat flew off then the bottom one took to the air. The kids will probably remember this more than the meteors that fell.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Fishing in San Diego

The family just got back from San Diego on Wednesday evening. I don't think we recovered until yesterday. The trip was a whirlwind of activities. Visiting family, Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, Comic-Con, The Safari Park and much more. It got to the point by day 5 that when I told my kids we need to get going they just ignored me. I couldn't blame them the pace we were going was frantic. I didn't bring my fishing stuff because I figured my schedule wouldn't allow it. My uncle and cousin are just as into fishing as I am. They were hoping to get me out at least one morning to fish off the coast. A friend invited us to use his boat and even though I was exhausted I felt like I couldn't pass up the opportunity. 

Riding out from the docks was amazing. San Diego really is a special place. While getting bait we watched seals swim hoping to get scraps and dolphins popped up here and there. It was a scene right out of a movie. The weather was an unusual clear morning. 
San Diego is known for its perfect weather but what most people don't know is the coast is clouded most of the time. The hot temperatures of the inland and desert block the cold air coming from the ocean creating a marine layer. This usually results in a cloud bank that often hands out from the beach to 5-10miles inland. 
I was surprised at a number of boats that were out. You can see the boats in the distance and there were just as many surrounding the boat. If you hooked up some idiot would punch it as fast as they could to drop a line in your location. I had never seen such a lack of etiquette. I guess that was the norm because I seemed to be the only person that had major issues with it. 
We were tight lining live mackerel and waiting to feel a hit. It took me awhile to get the hang of it. I couldn't tell if the fish was just running or if a bigger fish had taken it. The seals and seagulls were constantly surrounding the boat. Several times seals took our bait and seagulls tried as well. It's crazy to see your line go from the ocean up into the air then you see a seagull stuck in flight. They usually dropped the mackerel which my uncle called relocating my bait. The seals made reeling in fish interesting. If you took to long you just gave the seal breakfast. Even with all the boats and other obstacles we managed to catch fish.
This fish looks similar to an albacore that is caught on the east coast. It's actually called a Bonito. Very hard fighting fish.  It put an L in my rod when I was bringing it in. I thought I had hooked a seal. 
We all had success catching calico bass, bonito and yellowtail. It was a special day and I'm glad I was able to spend it with family. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lake Fishing

Over the last year, I've been trying to become more familiar with the local lakes. I'm still pretty clueless but every now and then I learn something.

The Hook Set
Many times a fish will swim towards your boat making it difficult to get a good hookset. I've found to counter this I make a hookset like I'm trying to yank the fish out of the water. Even doing that at times doesn't work. If you can do it, strip set. That's your best chance at getting a good hookset.

In a kayak you don't have a ton unless you're anchored. Fish under a pound can't do much but a fish of substantial size can really affect your kayak. Imagine hooking a 5lb weight in a swimming pool while you're on a raft. If you pull hard on the rod the weight might move some but you will definitely move towards the weight as well. This creates a constant battle of keeping leverage while managing slack in your line. What I've found works best is to keep as much pressure on the fish as I can. This may sound crazy but I try to put so much pressure that I figure either my rod will break or the fish will come to me.

A Little Paddling Goes A Long Way
It took me quite awhile to realize it doesn't take much paddling to move your kayak. I found countless times where I made an approach towards an area and I was going too fast. I wouldn't notice this until I was about to cast and I would be almost right on top of my target area. I'd have to paddle to back myself up or slow myself down which most likely spooked anything in the area.

The Wind Can Be Your Friend Or Enemy
Similar to the comment above if you don't pay attention to the wind you can be pushed faster than you like. This can work out in your favor if you want to drift a certain direction. It can be good for trolling over a certain area.

Secure Your Stuff
If you have something you really don't want to lose put a lanyard on it or something that will make it float. It is really tempting to just lay something on the edge of your boat. It just takes one unexpected wake or bump of your elbow to send that tool, knife, or rod you love into the drink. If you can only secure one thing make sure it's your paddle. If you lose your paddle on a big lake when it's windy you're going to have a rough day.

Line Management
If you have something in your boat that can get tangled it will. I enjoy having neat rod holders and attachments that make my kayak look cool as the next person. The problem with those things is they make casting more of a chore. I try to have as little in front of me as possible. Get a cheap collapsible waste basket to use as a stripping basket.

Keep Your Rod Tip Down
I still have issues with this. You have better contact with your line and fly when your rod tip is down. My rod tip is usually touching or under the water when I fish. Your rod tip should always be pointing towards the fly. Especially when fishing streamers. You want to feel the resistance of the water when you strip. My hookups went up 10 to 1 after concentrating on this.

Noise Control
When you're approaching a location make sure you have an idea of how you're going to lay your paddle down and grab things in your boat without making noise. This is a lot easier said than done. I've found laying the paddle on my lap keeps it from hitting my boat. I can also use one hand to dip the paddle in the water and help me steer. I try to keep my paddle in the water as little as possible when I'm approaching a target. The fish don't seem to care about the kayak but they do care about the disturbance from the paddle or my casts.

Hopefully, these tips can help anyone starting out.