Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Bucket Mouth League

Frankenfly is doing something similar to what The Fiberglass Manifesto did last year with "TheYearOfTheGill." The new thing is called the BucketMouthLeague. I'm usually not into stuff like this but I have to admit the logo FrankenFly is having made up looks awesome. I'd really like to get it for my kayak.
First things first though. I need to start catching some largemouths. The hot weather lately has turned me off to fishing. Today was the first day we had that wasn't above 90 and super humid. It was just 90 and dry. I tried to make the most of the last few hours of daylight. There was a pond I hadn't fished much but it has always been decent each time I've visited. The first 30min was dead. I didn't have so much as a sniff on my fly. I really wanted to catch something on top water so I stuck with a popper. I could see minnows all over near the bank. There were so many the water quivered. I tried every retrieve I could think of but nothing seemed to elicit a strike. I came to a cement intake and decided to try something different. I cast near the structure and my fly landed on top of it. I pulled it off and the fly landed next to the intake. I started to jerk the fly with violent strips. I wanted the action to look really abnormal. Nothing like anything you'd see in nature. After my 5th strip the fly was gone and a green flash shimmered along the surface then disappeared into the dark water. It happened so fast by the time I set the hook the fish basically hooked itself. I could tell from the bend in the rod the fish was good size. Then it shot out of the water and shook its head. I gave the rod a few more good yanks to ensure the hook set was good. When I landed the fish I was wondering where the heck my fly went. 
I never get used to bass flies. Every time I use them I always think they are too large. This fly is a size 4 and you can see there is room to spare in this bass's mouth. The fish was very healthy and strong.
It swam away with ease after I released it. A few casts later I had another fish on. My retrieve seemed to make all the difference in the world. I had to really pop the fly and make a major disturbance to get any attention from the fish. It's the first time I've ever had that happen. A learning experience for sure. It was a great evening and I got my first fish for the Buck Mouth League.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Kayak Hatch

Had a great outing with friends yesterday. 
We hit the New River and it was one of the most enjoyable trips I've had in a long time. The water was perfect for wading. Not too deep or fast and the clarity was amazing.
Even with the kayak hatches every now and then the fishing was still good.
It was a rare day. Didn't lose any flies, no regrets for not trying a certain fly and I experimented many different types of ways to fish.  The results paid off.
This fish I caught right next to where we parked the car. The section had a ton of traffic from people tubing and kayaking. It was making it hard to cast and I just got tired of it. I walked back to the car and noticed a fish right near the bank. It took a few casts but the fish eventually couldn't resist. It ended up being my biggest fish of the day. This trip couldn't have gone much better. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Good Morning

I read an article recently that talked about how women are better fly fisherman then men. When I read the article I thought to myself this is crap. Just another ploy to get more women into the sport. This morning the Triangle Fly Fishers had a beginners fly fishing event and I decided to help out. There was a woman who came that had never fly fished let alone waded before. She mentioned fishing mostly lakes but it was hard to concentrate on what she was saying as I helped her untangle line from her rod. I'd like to think I'm a very patient un-judgmental person but I also come to a opinion when I first meet people. I figured I'd be spending most of the morning with this lady. 
The water looked great and as I talked to the group and as if on que a fish hit a few feet off the bank as I was telling them about not having to cast far. Half of the group stayed with me and the others went upstream. Since this lady had never caught a fish before with a fly rod I felt some pressure to get her something on the line. I decided I wasn't going to fish until she caught one. What came evidently clear with in the first 20min is women are better fly fishermen then men. They just seem to listen better and apply what you're telling them correctly. This lady had never cast a fly rod before and in 20min she was casting 20-30ft and caught her first fish.
She caught another fish with in minutes and I decided to move on to check on the others. Later I returned to watch how she had progressed. She was fishing under a tree with her husband, a seasoned fly fisherman. He was giving her pointers and every now and then I looked up to see her rod bent with a fish on the other end. I was still amazed at her progress with this being her first time. Near the end of the morning she was roll casting. I can't remember how long it took me to roll cast. I know each person is different but I've gone with 3 different women who never touched a fly rod before and all of them were casting and catching fish quickly on the first day. I'd love to say it was my tutelage but I know better. 

The rest of the morning was the usual for the Eno. Sunfish left and right and beautiful shadows along the trail.
This river is really a local treasure and it doesn't get the appreciation it deserves.
It has the features of a mountain stream but it's with in 15min of downtown Durham. Even though it's a State Park many people living in the area don't know it exists. While hiking the trail I came across this flower.
It was the first time I have ever seen a flower like this before and it only grew in one area of the trail that I could find. 

Out of all the hiking, teaching and exploring I managed to fish. I was even lucky enough to hook the elusive Roanoke Bass.
I'd say it was a good morning.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Beating The Heat

Last weekend we tried to escape the heat in Raleigh by heading to the mountains. The weather is always 10-15 degrees cooler there and I figured the kids could play in the creek to cool off. 
We spent our time splashing and rock hopping. 
My daughter was getting a little too adventurous. Her and a friend went way down the creek and started to get into situations where they weren't sure just how to climb back up. She has no fear and as much as I admire that it scares me at times. 
I've always been a fan of those blurred water fall images. I decided to try taking some. I kept playing with the shutter speed until I got something I liked.
I love how this waterfall turned out. The blur of the water is cool and I love how you can even make out the clear pool below. I got pretty lucky with this next shot.
The lighting was just right. I was using a rock as a tripod so I wasn't really sure how these pictures turned out until I got home.

The Boone, NC area is a great place if you love to hike. The Blue Ridge Parkway has so many trails I think it would take you a life time to try them all. One of my favorites is the Rough Ridge Trail. It is great for kids who like to climb things. The trail runs through almost a trench that's lined with vegetation and rocks.
The trees can provide some protection from the wind that can get quite strong. There are several over looks along the trail with some stunning views.
The sky always seems to look better here.
I never get tired of coming here and as the kids get older they seem to enjoy it more and more. It was pretty tiring hiking and playing most of the day but one afternoon I did get a chance to wet a line.
This is one of my favorite sections of river. I just seem to find peace here and there's plenty of room to cast and just enjoy the scenery. I watched birds skim insects off the surface and caught smallmouth and rock bass here and there.
I can't see how the weekend could have been much better.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Saltwater is Bad

It's taken me two reels and several sets of rusted out hooks and line nippers to realize saltwater is bad. When I used my reel in Florida I stuck it under the outdoor shower after figuring the warm water would dissolve most of the salt. Usually I'd take the reel apart and soak it in warm water over night but I was being lazy. I hadn't used the reel since until this last weekend on a fishing trip. I went to pull line from the reel and it wouldn't budge. Not a good sign. I then tried to back the reel the opposite direction it jerked and twitched but slowly started to turn. Then I tried to go the other direction again and the reel seized up. This time I couldn't go in either direction. I tried twisting the drag setting and it fell off in my hand. What the hell? I put some serious pressure on the reel and I'd like to think it's because of my strength this happened but I know better. The reel just broke in half. The screw holding the spool on was rusted and just broke in half. Saltwater destroys things at an amazing pace. If you use a reel in saltwater I'd say you have about 1 maybe 2 days tops to rinse that thing out well or it's done. I swear the salt starts killing your reel on the drive home. Hooks aren't safe either. Make sure after using flies in the salt you don't put the fly where it's touching the rest. You could end up rusting the other flies just by association.

The other way salt can be bad is when it comes to what's swimming in the water with you. The NC coast has been crazy lately. 6 shark attacks in the last two months and just this week they found a 11ft alligator coming up on the beach. I'd like to say it's been a abnormally good year for fishing that's why all these predators are around but from the reports I see that's not the case. My honest guess is that we might actually be having a good turtle nesting season. Almost all of my NC friends go to the beach and I haven't seen one in the last few years post a pic of a sea turtle less it nesting. My buddy posted one this week. Even with all the scares it's not keeping people out of the water.

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.